Jackie Robinson #42

Dan Guerrero, UCLA Director of Athletics and member of the NCAS Board of Directors, had the honor of delivering the dedication speech for the UCLA "Jackie Robinson Athletics & Recreation Complex."  Read Dan's speech below and view the Jackie Robinson Tribute video at:

Jackie Robinson Tribute Rachel Robinson Comes Home to UCLA

JACKIE ROBINSON ATHLETICS & RECREATION COMPLEX NAMING 

November 21, 2014 – Dan Guerrero Speech

 GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR THIS TRULY SPECIAL OCCASION.  IT IS AN ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE TO BE ABLE TO STAND HERE BEFORE YOU TO CELEBRATE A MAN WHO WAS, AND STILL IS A HERO TO SO MANY, INCLUDING YOURS TRULY.

LIKE ALL OF OUR FRESHMEN HERE ON CAMPUS, I TOO HAD THE PLEASURE OF READING JACKIE’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, “I NEVER HAD IT MADE”.  IN THE FOREWARD TO THE BOOK, THE GREAT HANK AARON NOTED THAT “JACKIE SUPPRESSED WHO HE WAS AS A LIVING SACRIFICE FOR THE CAUSE UNTIL SUCH TIME AS HE FELT HE HAD PROVEN HIMSELF. ONLY THEN DID HE FEEL COMPORTABLE TAKING OFF THE FAÇADE AND BEING WHO HE WAS”.

AND BEING WHO HE WAS IS WHAT IS REALLY WHAT WE CELEBRATE TODAY. PERHAPS NO ONE HAS EVER SUMMED UP JACKIE ROBINSON’S LEGACY BETTER THAN JACKIE ROBINSON HIMSELF WHEN HE SAID: “A LIFE IS NOT IMPORTANT EXCEPT ON THE IMPACT IT HAS ON OTHER LIVES.”  IT’S A REMARKABLE QUOTE FROM A REMARKABLE MAN.

AND TO FOLLOW THAT WITH AN EQUALLY COMPELLING QUOTE, JACKIE SAID THAT ‘FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ACHIEVED A CERTAIN LEVEL OF SUCCESS, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THE INDIVIDUALS WHO HELPED US ALONG THE WAY…AND WE ALSO HAVE TO REMEMBER THE MANY OTHERS THAT WE CAN HELP ON THEIR OWN LIFE’S JOURNEY.’

CLEARLY JACKIE MEANT THAT IN HELPING OTHERS WE ALL HAVE VALUE AND MEANING…WE ALL ADVANCE…WE ALL SUCCEED.  JACKIE NOT ONLY EXPRESSED THIS SENTIMENT, HE EMBODIED IT. HIS HISTORICAL VENTURE INTO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CHANGED THE COURSE OF THE RIVER FOR SO MANY. IN DOING SO, HE INSPIRED GENERATIONS THAT FOLLOWED HIM TO BELIEVE IN THEIR DREAMS...TO BELIEVE THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

MY OWN FATHER USED JACKIE ROBINSON'S LEGACY AS A FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE FOR MY FUTURE. AS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP, BEFORE I COULD EVEN ENVISION BEING A PART OF THIS GREAT UNIVERSITY, I CAN VIVIDLY RECALL HIM TELLING ME THAT "UCLA WAS THE UNIVERSITY FOR THE PEOPLE." WHAT HE MEANT WAS THAT UCLA WAS A UNIVERSITY THAT WELCOMED SOMEONE WHO LOOKED LIKE ME – WELCOMED ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR, ALL WALKS OF LIFE– A PLACE THAT PROVIDED OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO REACH BEYOND THEIR GRASPS AND TO ULTIMATELY ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS…AND, YES…TO EVEN ACHIEVE THOSE DREAMS.

JACKIE ROBINSON WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR MY DAD'S LOVE FOR UCLA, A LOVE THAT I INHERITED AND READILY EMBRACED. UCLA BECAME THE PLACE THAT TRANSFORMED MY LIFE, JUST AS JACKIE'S COURAGE, CHARACTER, WORK ETHIC, AND TALENT HELPED TO TRANSFORM HIS LIFE AND THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO'VE EMULATED HIM OVER THE YEARS. 

I WAS HONORED TO HAVE PLAYED BASEBALL AT UCLA, JUST LIKE JACKIE. WE WORE THE SAME UNIFORM, WE PLAYED THE SAME POSITION, WE WALKED THE SAME CAMPUS…THAT, IN ADDITION TO BEING A LIFELONG DODGER FAN, ALLOWED ME TO ALWAYS FEEL A UNIQUE KINSHIP WITH JACKIE.  

AS UCLA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, I EXPECT BRUIN COACHES AND STUDENT-ATHLETES TO REPRESENT THIS UNIVERSITY WITH CHARACTER AND CLASS DURING THEIR TIME AT UCLA AND LONG AFTER THEY’VE GONE -  JUST LIKE JACKIE. I EXPECT THEM TO COMPETE TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITIES AND TO HANDLE SUCCESS AND ADVERSITY WITH THE DIGNITY THAT JACKIE DID.

WE ARE BRUINS, WHO HAVE THE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO WALK IN HIS FOOTSTEPS, TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS AND TO USE THAT SUCCESS TO HELP OTHERS ALONG THE WAY – JUST LIKE JACKIE ROBINSON DID THROUGHOUT HIS EXTRAORDINARY LIFE.   DEDICATING THE ATHLETICS AND RECREATION COMPLEX IN HIS NAME WILL ALWAYS BE ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY CAREER.   THANK YOU JACKIE, AND THANK YOU, UCLA, FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO.

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