CWU News

Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl Champion Inspires CWU Students

Richard Sherman’s smile and mere presence filled McConnell Hall last Saturday evening. The Super Bowl Champion and cornerback of the Seattle Seahawks made a special appearance at Central Washington University to talk with students about overcoming challenges and giving back to their communities.

Richard Sherman sits next to Andre Dickerson

The purpose of Sherman appearance was to engage with college students from throughout Washington state as part of the 2017 Student of Color Summit, hosted at CWU.

As the keynote speaker, Sherman shared his background, which is similar to many of the students that were attendance.

“I chose to come to Central Washington (University) to present because I thought it was an outstanding opportunity to get in front of students of color and give them my prospective and my experiences…trials and tribulations, the good the bad—to help them understand that when things are bad, not all is lost. When things are great, they can go bad in a hurry. So keep working,” Sherman said.

While growing up in Compton, California, Sherman said his parents instilled in him early the importance of education and of succeeding in the classroom as well as on the field.

The talented two-sport athlete (football and track) graduated from high school with a 4.2 GPA. He accepted admittance to Stanford University, where according to a 2005 Los Angeles Times profile, he became the first student in 20 years qualified to attend Stanford on both academic and athletic merits. He graduated from Stanford but not before leaving his mark on the institution.

Sherman went on to compete in the NFL and is arguably the best cornerback in the league. His accomplishments also extend beyond the turf. He started a new minority-owned business, manages his own Blanket Coverage Foundation, and gives back to his community, while also focusing on his growing family.

However, Sherman is not adverse to challenges.

Growing up in a low-income family he admits to relating to a number of the students in the audience. Sherman explained that he understands the struggles of hand-me-down clothing, borrowing books and school supplies from people all the time, and not always knowing where your next meal is coming from.

While it was difficult, he insists that the struggle is worth it.

Sherman shared that graduating from college was one of his proudest achievements. Not only was it a point of pride for Sherman and his parents, but it was monumental for his community. His example allowed others to understand that it is possible to get out from anywhere and go on to do great things.

“Winning the Super Bowl and things like that, I mean they’re cool things, but in the grand scope of things it’s miniscule,” Sherman said.

In sharing his message with students, Sherman expounded that hard work, perseverance, and staying true to your values will help get you through any adversity.

“There are always more naysayers and critics than there are supporters,” he continued. “Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Believe in your dreams, have faith, and continue to persevere.”

-- April 4, 2017

Media Contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1484