Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin knows how to motivate football players, but his words of encouragement aren't limited to the gridiron.
Tomlin delivered the commencement address at Robert Morris University on Friday night, talking to approximately 200 graduate students about pursuing their dreams and having a vision for the future.
"It's always an interesting thought process for me when I think about speaking at a commencement," said Tomlin, who received an honorary doctorate in humane letters. "It's a special day in the lives of those people. I want to give them something they can hold on to. I want to challenge them, I want to encourage them, and I want to wish them well.
"I want to set a trajectory in their mind as they go out into the work force or the world, that they are capable of realizing their dreams. I get the pleasure in doing what I do, of knowing a lot of people that are living their dreams on a day to day basis. I am going to encourage them to chase theirs and live theirs out."
Tomlin is no stranger to commencement addresses, having previously delivered them at his alma mater William & Mary and Saint Vincent College, the summer home of the Steelers.
Tomlin's speech at Saint Vincent College in 2008 was named by National Public Radio (NPR) as one of the "The Best 300 Commencement Speeches, Ever." That is very high praise considering they went back to speeches from as long ago as 1774, and the list included the likes of Mother Teresa, John F. Kennedy and the Dalai Lama.
The speech wasn't the only special part of the evening. Late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney and his wife, Patricia, a trustee emerita at Robert Morris University, also received honorary doctorates for their founding and continued support of the Rooney International Visiting Scholars Program at Robert Morris. Dan and Patricia's son, Jim, was on hand to accept the award, with Steelers General Manager and University Trustee Kevin Colbert also in attendance.