A local legend will deliver the 2013 commencement address at the University of Maryland: The school announced this week that Cal Ripken Jr. will address the graduating class of more than 7,000 students.
Ripken, a Maryland native, played professional baseball for more than two decades and became a standout for the Baltimore Orioles. He got the nickname "Iron Man" after breaking the record for number of consecutive major-league games played in 1995, and he continued that streak until 1998. In 2007 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
UMD President Wallace Loh called Ripken "a natural educator, extraordinary athlete and a generous philanthropist." A member of the commencement speaker selection committee called him a "local hero" with "an accomplished career both on and off the field."
Maryland students appear to be pretty excited about the choice. The university posted this video of student reaction:
Ripken retired from baseball in 2001. Since then he's created Ripken Baseball, devoted to growing the game of baseball, especially among young people. The same year he was named to the Hall of Fame, Ripken became a Special Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department, spreading goodwill globally through baseball.
Ripken says he looks forward to the speech and said while he never attended college, he holds a great respect for higher education.
The University of Maryland's commencement is set for May 19, 2013.