Wade Davis II
Honorary Degree: Doctor of Public Service
Wade Davis is an advocate, writer, speaker, and educator. Davis is a former NFL player who played for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks, as well as two different teams within the NFL Europe league. He’s currently the executive director of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination, sexism, and homophobia in sports through the creation of curriculum, programming, trainings, and conversations focused on inclusion and diversity. In 2013, he co-founded the You Belong Initiative with Darnell L. Moore, an organization that offers LGBTQ and straight-allied youth a series of three-day comprehensive sports instruction and leadership development clinics, as well as the Speaker’s Collective aimed at providing support, promotion, and community for LGBTQA professionals of color.
Since retiring from the NFL, he’s owned a media business through a partnership with The New York Times called InMotion Media. Wade worked as the former assistant director of academic enrichment and work readiness for the Hetrick Martin Institute, where he taught at-promise LGBT youth how to define success for themselves. While working as an advocate, his writings and interviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other media outlets including President Barack Obama’s White House blog. He has appeared on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, CNN, ESPN, and BET.
During the 2012 presidential election, Davis worked as an official LGBT Surrogate for President Obama. He has served as an adjunct professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University and is working with national organizations such as the Minority AIDS Institute to combat different intersectional issues including sexism, racism, classism, HIV/AIDS, mass incarceration, poverty, and youth homelessness. He has lectured on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and sports at universities nationally and internationally. Recently, Davis spoke at the 2014 NFL owners meeting and is helping to chart at course for the NFL and other sports leagues on how to effectively address issues of diversity and inclusion.