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Red Sox President Larry Lucchino to Give Commencement Address

CEO fulfilled pledge to bring Boston its first World Series title since 1918

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Larry Lucchino, president and chief executive officer of the Boston Red Sox, will deliver the main address at Boston University’s 135th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18. University President Robert A. Brown announced the Commencement and the Baccalaureate speakers, as well as this year’s honorary degree recipients, at this morning’s annual Senior Breakfast in the George Sherman Union.

Lucchino, a member of the ownership group that bought the Red Sox in 2002, has helped transform a “cursed” franchise into a team with two World Series titles in the past four seasons.

After graduating from Princeton in 1967, where he played on the basketball team with Bill Bradley (who went on to the NBA and then the U.S. Senate), Lucchino attended Yale Law School. He graduated in 1972 and began his legal career working on the Watergate impeachment hearings alongside Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Soon after, he went to work for famed Washington, D.C., trial attorney Edward Bennett Williams, who owned the Washington Redskins. Lucchino did a substantial amount of legal work for the Redskins and for the Baltimore Orioles, which Williams purchased in 1979. Eventually, Lucchino was hired as the Orioles’ president and CEO and led the effort to build the team a new ballpark — Camden Yards, which opened in 1992. He then went on to become president of the San Diego Padres, where he oversaw the building of another ballpark.

Early on in his tenure as Red Sox president, Lucchino endeared himself to fans by committing to improving Fenway Park rather than razing it. He also publicly sparred with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, famously calling the rival organization the “evil empire” in a 2002 New York Times interview.

In six years of guiding the Red Sox business operations, he has increased the value of the franchise from about $380 million to $816 million, according to Forbes magazine. More important to fans, in 2004 he fulfilled his pledge to bring the city its first World Series title since 1918, and a second one three years later.

Lucchino will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at BU’s Commencement. Receiving Doctors of Humane Letters are Earle M. Chiles, president of Earle Chiles and Affiliated Companies, a BU trustee emeritus, and a member of the University’s Board of Overseers; Millard “Mickey” Drexler (GSM’68), chairman and CEO of J. Crew Group, Inc., and a 2006 BU Alumni Award recipient; Baccalaureate speaker William H. Hayling, a physician who cofounded 100 Black Men, an organization designed to improve the quality of life for African-Americans and other minorities; and Billie Jean King, the tennis legend who won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles tennis titles and who was a leader in the movement to bring professionalism and gender equity to the sport.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.

6 Comments

6 Comments on Red Sox President Larry Lucchino to Give Commencement Address

  • Anonymous on 05.05.2008 at 1:13 pm

    Flawed selection of commencement speaker

    Why can’t BU get someone with more academic gravitas to deliver the commencement address? Why can’t we get a Nobel laureate like Amartya Sen, Orhan Pamuk, John Mather or George Smoot?

  • Anonymous on 05.07.2008 at 11:42 am

    A hollow, cynical choice.

    Their country headed for recession, losing two wars, and threatened with climate change, who will inspire the Class of “08 to meet these unprecedented challenges — Larry Luccino, the CEO of the local baseball team, a collection of self-centered millionaires in pajamas.

    Although it will guarantee a few seconds coverage on the news, the choice of Mr. Luccino is ill-timed and trivial.

  • Peter George on 05.09.2008 at 11:20 am

    Have we already forgotten last year's speaker?

    Last year BU invited Stephen Chu, a nobel-prize winning physicist to speak to the graduates. Back then, everyone was complaining that they didn’t know who he was. Now we have the President of the Red Sox and you guys are all up in arms. At least BU is showing some balance. You don’t need to be a PhD to be successful in life or do something that’s meaningful. As long as BU keeps a good balance of speakers from all sorts of backgrounds, I have no problem with Mr. Lucchino this year.

  • Anonymous on 05.20.2008 at 12:18 pm

    the speech was awesome quit your bitching

  • Rock on 12.13.2009 at 2:53 pm

    The Lucchino Family

    Hi Larry:
    Are you related to the Lucchinos of Buffalo? My grandparents settled in Buffalo in the latter part of the 19th century. They lived on Walnut Street, a predominately Italian community.
    Grandpa was Rocco Lucchino, and grandma was Maria. They had two children, Rose and Joseph.
    Uncle Joe moved to California about 1942, with his wife and three (3) children.
    My brother believes all of the Lucchinos are related somehow.
    Sincerely,
    Rocco J. Spinelli

  • Moses P. Saldana, Sr. on 10.21.2013 at 6:01 pm

    Mr. Lucchino, the next time that chat with Mr. John W. Henry; could you please ask him if he recieved the Lucky Horseshoe that I mailed to him on 10 October 2013 to the Fenway Park address! Enclosed was a letter with my prediction of outcome, plus Marine decal for increased more Buena Suerte!

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