Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is going to earn his college degree from the University of Notre Dame, more than 29 years after he starred on the football field for the Fighting Irish. Bettis will graduate this spring 2022 with a business degree at Notre Dame stadium.
“That I complete the task at hand. That’s what I wanted to do,” Bettis said when asked why return to college now. “Also, I promised my mother that I would get my degree. But most importantly, I have two children. For them to see dad finish a commitment, I think it says a lot to them.”
At 49 years old, Bettis is more than twice the age of his fellow classmates. Things are a bit different this time than they were when he was a student in the 1990s.
Most of Bettis’ fellow classmates take notes on iPads or tablets, he still uses a pen and paper. The campus has also changed a bit since he was a student, and he gets lost in some of the new buildings. Reflecting on what it’s like being back on campus as a student, Bettis says it’s “strange.”
“It is so strange because I am so behind the times,” Bettis said. “I mean, I’m a dinosaur. I don’t know where anything is, I’m struggling with the technology.”
Bettis is a senior, just four courses from graduating. But says this time around he’s a much better student. That’s easy to believe, given he no longer has the insane hours of a division I football player on top of his studies to worry about.
“I’m a much better student at 49 because I want to learn. I want to know all this information.”
There is an appreciation for education a person has once they’ve gone through real-life experiences that is hard for your typical undergraduate to grasp.
In 2015 Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, capping his career as an NFL running back.He finished with 13,664 career rushing yards and 91 touchdowns.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time All-Pro, Walter Payton Man of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Offensive Rookie of the Year. Bettis played his first three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams franchise and his last 10 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a Super Bowl champion.
In his post-playing career he’s served a football analyst on television and is active with the Jerome Bettis The Bus Stops Here Foundation, whose mission is:
Working to provide education, sports, technology, and recreational opportunities to the underprivileged youth of the inner-city. We aim to help them improve their quality of life through our mentoring and programs that assist them in becoming enlightened, healthy, skilled, and productive individuals.
Through our resources and experienced assistance, we provide financially challenged youth with a sense of purpose, motivation, and confidence, which helps them put their optimal efforts forward in whatever they do in their lives.
Upon completion of his degree, Bettis says he wants to use the knowledge gained to better serve his many business interests. Which include trucking, staffing, development, and marketing companies.
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