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.