May 17, 2014
While Peyton Manning did not graduate from University of Virginia, he has personal ties.
His wife is a 1997 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce and he himself has spent plenty of time in Charlottesville.
Saturday's message focused on hope for the future, and perseverance.
"When your chided for your naivete, and you will be, remind your critics that an amateur built the ark and experts built the titanic," said Manning. You are about to run through the tunnel, onto an enormous field of uncertainty. Your four years here in Charlottesville have prepared you more than most," he added.
2014 graduate and Broncos fan, Marcus Nappier. was beyond excited he got the chance to see Manning speak on the Lawn.
"It's nice to know that he's a really funny guy, because like he said everyone portrays him as really serious, so it was nice to see the humor," said Nappier.
Manning, talked about his memories in Charlottesville, the place he would often visit while dating his wife Ashley.
"While dating we went to all the local spots here in Charlottesville. We loved to go to Little Johns, always ordered a "Sampson", and Bodos for breakfast, " said Manning.
Only a select few get the chance to be on the receiving end of one of Manning's passes, but Saturday he selected three graduates to experience something once in a lifetime. Each graduate was given the opportunity to catch a pass from one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks.
Final exercises take place Sunday on the Lawn where Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will deliver the commencement address