J.C. Watts, Jr., former United States congressman from Oklahoma and legendary college and professional football player, will deliver the 2019 Commencement address for Maryville University.
Maryville’s Commencement ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on May 5, at the St. Charles Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. For more information about Maryville’s Commencement ceremony, visit maryville.edu/commencement.
“J.C. Watts is a visionary conservative leader who offers thought provoking views on the future of health care, the economy, education and other major issues of the day,” said president Mark Lombardi, PhD. “From football hero to his remarkable eight years in Congress, Watts offers wisdom and experience that encourages our graduates to grow personally and learn more about the world in which we live.”
Watts represented the fourth district of Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002. After his first two terms as a congressman, Watts was selected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference — the fourth-ranking leadership position of the majority party in the House of Representatives.
Currently, Watts is chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a multi-industry holding firm that includes Mustang Equipment, which consists of John Deere dealerships, and Watts Partners, the largest African-American owned lobbying company in Washington, D.C.
Watts received a B.A. in journalism in 1981 from the University of Oklahoma. While in college, Watts was quarterback for the Sooners, leading them to consecutive Big Eight Championships and Orange Bowl victories. He was voted the “Most Valuable Player” in the 1980 and 1981 Orange Bowls. From 1981 to 1986, he started for Ottawa and Toronto in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and was voted the “Most Valuable Player” of the Grey Cup, the CFL’s Super Bowl, his rookie season.