qwe Drew Brees to speak at Loyola's unified commencement ceremony - Loyola University New Orleans

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Drew Brees to speak at Loyola's unified commencement ceremony

Loyola press release - February 18, 2010

Photo on homepage by marketing senior Tyler Kaufman.

Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees will address Loyola University New Orleans’ Class of 2010 during the university’s unified commencement ceremony in the Louisiana Superdome on Saturday, May 8.

Brees led a dominating performance against the Colts on Feb. 7, resulting in the Saints’ first Super Bowl victory in the franchise’s history. The quarterback dedicated the win to the City of New Orleans, his adopted home since 2006, coincidentally, the same year Loyola’s graduating class enrolled in the university.

The parallels between the class and Brees don’t end there. Both the grads and Brees invested themselves in New Orleans when the city was at its lowest point, and both had faith that it would come back stronger than before.

Since the class of 875 students first stepped on campus, Loyola University has made tremendous strides in its own recovery. Enrollment has increased to pre-Katrina numbers, the university’s bond rating is back to an A+, and $35 million has been allocated for building enhancements and infrastructure improvements over the next year.

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., Loyola’s president said, “Like our graduating students, Mr. Brees made a decision to come to New Orleans four years ago. Through his leadership of the Saints and his work in rebuilding the city, he has been a leader in the renewal of New Orleans just as our students have been leaders in this renewal though their work and volunteer service.”

Since his arrival to New Orleans, Brees has played a fundamental role in efforts to rebuild the city, dedicating his time to fundraising as well as hands-on work. He and his wife Brittany are extremely active philanthropists, having established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 with a mission to advance research in the fight against cancer and provide care, education and opportunities for children. The Brees Dream Foundation’s ongoing efforts include rebuilding homes with Habitat for Humanity, supporting Children's Hospital and the American Cancer Society’s Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge, and rebuilding schools, parks, playgrounds and athletic fields in New Orleans, San Diego and Purdue communities. For more information regarding the Brees Dream Foundation, please visit www.drewbrees.com.

Brees paid tribute to the people of New Orleans after being named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIV. He said he and the team owed much to their support in the years following Katrina.

"Four years ago, whoever thought this would be happening,” said Brees. “Eighty-five percent of the city was under water. People were evacuating to places all over the country. Most people left not knowing if New Orleans would ever come back, or if the organization would ever come back. We just all looked at one other and said, 'We are going to rebuild together. We are going to lean on each other.' That's what we've done the last four years and this is the culmination in all that belief."

A native of Austin, Texas, Brees has ranked among the NFL's elite quarterbacks, including being named the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year last season and having four times been voted to the Pro Bowl. Few players in the era of free agency have made the impact that Brees has had on the Saints. He led the club to the NFC Championship Game in 2006, has started all 64 regular-season contests, has recorded a league-high 23 games with at least 300 passing yards and has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week seven times. Brees was also honored as the co-winner of the 2006 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, in large part for his charitable contributions and volunteer work in the New Orleans community.

For more information, contact Meredith Hartley, director of Loyola's Office of Public Affairs and External Relations at 504-722-6078 or mhartley@loyno.edu.