May 9, 2012
SMU football player and 2012 graduate Kelvin Beachum recently was drafted by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. But before he heads back to training camp, he has to meet an important commitment – he is receiving his Master of Liberal Arts degree and presenting the Commencement address to fellow 2012 graduates of Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
In his five years of athletic eligibility at SMU, Beachum earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in liberal studies and was named to the Conference-USA All-Academic team. He also started in 52 consecutive Mustang football games and was named the best offensive lineman in Texas by Dave Campbell’s 2011-2012 Texas Football magazine. The day after Commencement he returns to rookie camp in Pittsburgh.
At 6’ 3,” 303 pounds, Beachum is an imposing figure, but he’s also a self-professed “history fanatic ” who completed his master’s degree in record time, just 16 months. He counts his relationships with fellow football players, professors and mentors as among his greatest rewards from his time at SMU.
In turn, Beachum shares what he knows – as leader and mentor on the football team, he turned the Mustangs' appearance at the BBVA Compass Bowl this fall into a field trip that he thought was important for the whole team: He'd been moved when he visited the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham as a member of the 2011 SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage (an annual teaching tour of the civil rights South and part of one of his favorite classes at SMU), and he wasn't about to let his teammates miss the power of that experience. He took his teammates to the church.
Beachum blogged about a very special haircut he received on the civil rights pilgrimage last year. Read it at http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/2011/civil-rights-pilgrimage-south/in-the-chair-of-lloyd-howards-barbershop/
Beachum is keeping the contents of his Commencement speech close to his vest, but don’t be surprised if he includes one of his favorite quotes attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”
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