Orange Coast College Alumni Hall of Fame member and retired National Football League player and broadcaster Benny Ricardo will deliver the keynote speech at OCC's 2017 Commencement on Wednesday, May 24.
The ceremony will take place at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the OC Fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m. and will confer 4,919 associate degrees and certificates to OCC graduates. Ricardo's speech is titled "The Moment" and will encourage students to live each moment to its fullest, and not dwell on the past or the future since they are out of one's control.
"Living in the moment, that's the way I've lived my life. I don't believe in stress," says Ricardo, who spent many days during his childhood sneaking into (and subsequently getting kicked out of) OCC's football stadium to play football and goof off. "OCC is where I did my dreaming," he says.
Ricardo attended OCC as a student from 1971–1972, where he was an All American under OCC football coaching legend Dick Tucker. He credits Coach Tucker with being the first person to validate his goal of playing in the NFL, and describes how his desire to live up to his coach's expectations drove him to succeed.
"I always believed that somewhere, some place, somebody was chasing that same dream of mine, to make it in the National Football League," Ricardo says. "Coach Tucker was the first person to lend credence to my chances of making money on Sundays, and I never wanted to let him down."
After leaving OCC, Ricardo attended San Diego State University, where he was an All American kicker on the Aztec's football team, before being drafted to the Buffalo Bills. In total, Ricardo played football for four teams in the NFL from 1976 until 1984, including the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers.
Since retiring from playing football professionally, Ricardo has worked as a stand-up comedian and has performed gigs in the White House for two presidents, as well as working as a sports announcer and analyst.
He has extensive experience broadcasting boxing matches and football games in both English and Spanish for several major networks including ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NBC, and more.