Since retiring from Major League Baseball last October, David Ortiz has mostly laid low from the public eye, enjoying his retirement after a 20-year big leagues career. Big Papi is back at it, though, and this time, we may need to call him Dr. Ortiz. On Sunday, the former Boston Red Sox star was honored by the New England Institute of Technology with an honorary doctorate, before giving this year’s commencement speech to over a thousand graduates.
Ortiz’s doctorate of humane letters was awarded to him by the institution for “his work to help others, especially his efforts help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who face significant health challenge,” according to a MassLive report.
Aside from getting his doctorate, Ortiz also gave the commencement speech for the 75-year-old institution; previous speakers have included NBA legend Bill Walton and former New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. In his speech, Big Papi spoke to graduates about the need to look at failures and work past them: “Life is not based on how many times you fail. Life is not based on the people who tell you you can’t. Life is based on what you feel you are capable of doing.”
Big Papi also shared that he felt his path wasn’t too different from the students’: “You might think we are different but we really aren’t. We both figured out where we come from and how hard it is to get to where we’re at today.” Finally, Ortiz stressed the importance of receiving a good education, despite his belief that baseball would be his entire life; he specifically thanked his parents for ensuring he had more than just the sport growing up.