U.S. House Speaker and Xavier graduate John Boehner was among the fans at the Cintas Center Saturday, Jan. 22, as the men’s basketball team took on Atlantic 10 rival Temple.
Boehner was greeted upon his arrival by Xavier graduate Erin McDermott, who was once an intern in his office, and current Xavier student and Politics, Philosophy and the Public major Nick Reinel.
During the first half, the Speaker was honored by University President Michael J. Graham, S.J,. and was presented with a personalized Xavier athletic jacket.
Boehner also spoke with Xavier basketball radio announcers Joe Sunderman and Byron Larkin, as well as Xavier guard Brad Redford for Redford’s behind-the-scenes blog.
Boehner graduated from Xavier in 1977 with a degree in business administration. He was encouraged to attend Xavier in 1971 by the late Bill Smith, an accounting professor.
During his first semester he took three classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and worked part-time jobs. After passing those first classes with an ‘A’ and two ‘B’s, Boehner spent the next year as a full-time commuter student, but had trouble making ends meet. For the next five years he worked full time and attended night school at Xavier to complete his degree.
Saturday was Boehner’s first return to campus as Speaker, but this was not his first trip to Xavier since joining the ranks of Congressional leadership. In 2006 he spoke at Xavier’s undergraduate commencement ceremony. During that event, Xavier awarded Boehner a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Bill Smith was his honored guest at the ceremony.
For more about Boehner, including the text and video of his commencement speech, photo galleries and national media coverage, see the article in the latest Xavier magazine.