NBA point guard George Hill says graduating from IUPUI was about finishing the job

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George Hill was one of the student speakers at IUPUI's 2018 commencement. (Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications)

Nearly 15 years after he began his educational journey, Indianapolis native and NBA star George Hill is an IUPUI college graduate. The starting point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers took time out of his playoff schedule to travel to his hometown and participate in commencement ceremonies.

In his commencement address, Hill honored all of his fellow graduates, recognizing that everyone had their own unique journey to get to this moment.

“I have been under the arena lights in some big moments in my life, but none has been bigger than this,” Hill said. “For a lot of us, it wasn’t easy to get here. It required much sacrifice and an incredible level of commitment, and there is no doubt we are so deserving of this recognition in this building.”

Hill also offered reflections of lessons learned over the last 10 years in the NBA:

Believe in yourself every minute of every day. You are enough, so speak to yourself with the most wonderful and positive words.

Trust your gut. It will serve you well no matter the circumstance.

Build your dream team. Find supportive relationships and surround yourself with mentors who will help you work toward your goals.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and persevere through your decisions.

Create a vision for your life. Set small goals preparing for something greater.

Be a leader in your own life because there is no greater time than now to do so.

Impact someone’s life. Give of yourself selflessly to make a positive change for another human being.

Last fall, Hill decided to finish the degree he started 14 years ago, writing papers and taking tests while balancing his NBA schedule. But once he made up his mind to return to school, nothing was going to stop him from finishing.

“It’s not about how long it took me; it’s about finishing the job,” Hill said.

Hill was among a record number of 6,940 IUPUI graduates. The ceremony at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis included five honorary degree recipients and keynote commencement speaker A’Lelia Bundles, great-great-granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker.

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