Tony La Russa named commencement speaker
Retired St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has been named the 2014 commencement address speaker, Chancellor Mark Wrighton announced at the senior class toast Monday.
Commencement will be held Friday, May 16, in Brookings Quadrangle. La Russa will be speaking at Washington University two months before speaking in Cooperstown, N.Y., when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
La Russa is baseball’s third-winningest manager in Major League Baseball history and led the Cardinals to two World Series championships in his 16 seasons with the club.
He has spoken at the University twice before, at an Assembly Series lecture in 2005 and at the William Greenleaf Eliot Society’s 45th annual dinner in 2012.
“Washington University is honored to have Tony La Russa address the graduating class of 2014,” Wrighton said in a press release from the University. “Although our students come from all over the country and the world, they will no doubt benefit from hearing from one of baseball’s most enduring and legendary managers and strategists.”
Wrighton added that La Russa’s philanthropic work with animals was another factor in making him an attractive candidate for keynote speaker. Along with his wife, he founded Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, a charity that has helped place more than 25,000 animals in adopted homes since its creation in 1991.
After the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, La Russa retired from coaching. He now works as a special assistant to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.