News Story

March 28, 2018

Roberto Clemente Jr. to Deliver 53rd Commencement Address at La Roche College

PITTSBURGH, March 28, 2018 – La Roche College is pleased to announce Roberto Clemente Jr. as its 53rd commencement speaker.

“It is such an honor for me to be part of this exciting day for the La Roche College Class of 2018,” Mr. Clemente Jr. said. “Completing higher education and going on to further endeavors is one of life’s proudest moments. I am sure the members of the graduating class have left their fingerprints on the walls of this college, and I hope they will do the same for our society.”

Mr. Clemente Jr. will deliver the commencement address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at La Roche’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5 in the Kerr Fitness & Sports Center.

President Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., said, “As a baseball broadcaster, former professional baseball player, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Mr. Clemente Jr. has lived a life of service by encouraging the youth of Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh and abroad to pursue service through sports. He continues to follow the example of his family in upholding the traditions of Catholic faith, and personifies the long-established mission of La Roche College to be a lifelong learner, to achieve success in a chosen career, and to promote justice and peace in a constantly changing global society. He is an exemplary role model for our students and graduates, and we are pleased to present him with an honorary degree.”

The first seven years of Mr. Clemente Jr.’s life were spent between Puerto Rico and Pittsburgh. Tragedy struck when his father died in an airplane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while taking relief items to Nicaragua earthquake victims. The fact that his father passed away when Mr. Clemente Jr. was young inspired him to follow in his father’s footsteps. Despite a promising baseball career, Mr. Clemente Jr. suffered a series of injuries that ultimately prevented him from playing his first game in the major leagues. Although he was not able to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps, he was able to continue and emulate his father’s commitment to humanitarian causes.

Mr. Clemente Jr. helped his mother in her quest to open the Roberto Clemente Sports City in Puerto Rico, and in 1992 he created the RBI Baseball program, aimed at bringing children to his sport. Mr. Clemente Jr. helped establish the Roberto Clemente Foundation in 1993 in Pittsburgh, an organization dedicated to teaching young people service to their community through sport. When Kevin McClatchy became the Pirates’ owner in 1995, the major league team embraced both of Mr. Clemente Jr.’s organizations, promoting them in multiple ways.

Mr. Clemente Jr. is currently president of RCJ Global Impact, global ambassador for RC21X, headquartered in Pittsburgh, and the global ambassador for Food for the Hungry, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end poverty in all its forms.

Forty-five years after his father died trying to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua, Mr. Clemente Jr. took up a similar charge to help the citizens of Puerto Rico who are suffering from a devastating natural disaster. He worked with Brothers Brother Foundation to rally the Pittsburgh community to collect desperately needed supplies for shipment to the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

With Mr. Clemente Jr.’s help, Brother’s Brother delivered a total of 19 ocean-going container loads of humanitarian and medical supplies and 13 tractor-trailer load equivalents of medical supplies on 10 air shipments to Puerto Rico. Mr. Clemente Jr. also has revamped and repurposed a water plant that will enable clean water to be sourced directly from the rainforest and distributed to the people of not only Puerto Rico, but to the Virgin Islands as well.

In addition to his foundation and humanitarian work, Mr. Clemente Jr. served as a sports broadcaster working New York Yankees games, both on television and radio. He has been a talk show host with WADO—NYC Univision and Baseball Max, the Spanish version of MLB Network. Mr. Clemente Jr. also was a game announcer on ESPN’s Spanish television network and became the first Latino to host a show on WFAN (New York City). He served as White House T-Ball Commissioner under President George W. Bush and spent six years as such with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

About La Roche College: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, six graduate degree programs and one doctoral program, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche College embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche College educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.