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Alex Smith to deliver commencement speech at University of Utah

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 12:54 p.m. MDT

Elizabeth Barry, left, and Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs arrive at the 3rd annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for NFL/AP Images) (Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Elizabeth Barry, left, and Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs arrive at the 3rd annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for NFL/AP Images) (Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah quarterback Alex Smith, who was the NFL’s top draft pick in 2005, has accepted an invitation from the University of Utah to deliver the general commencement address May 1.

The all-pro Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, who is a Utah graduate and generous philanthropist, was chosen to do so by school president David W. Pershing and the university’s Board of Trustees.

“Smith is not only a talented athlete and accomplished student,” Pershing said in making the announcement. “He is a standout example of class and persistence. It is no surprise that his teammates voted him the Ed Block Courage Award in 2011 as a model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. It is an honor to welcome Alex back to campus.”

Before pursuing a pro football career, Smith led the Utes to a 21-1 record as the starting quarterback. His win total included victories in the 2003 Liberty Bowl and 2005 Fiesta Bowl. It took him just two years to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics, graduating with a 3.74 GPA. He then started course work on a master’s degree.

University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith poses in the hills above Salt Lake City Sept 15th, 2004. (Jeffrey D. Allred, ) University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith poses in the hills above Salt Lake City Sept 15th, 2004. (Jeffrey D. Allred, )

According to a university press release, the Alex Smith Foundation and the Alex Smith Guardian Scholars Program were established in 2007 to assist foster teens in attending college — spending 91 percent of its funding on scholarships and grants.

The public is invited to hear Smith speak at the general commencement exercises on Thursday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Huntsman Center. The event is free.

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