Today, November 6th, marks what would have been Pat’s 37th birthday. Almost ten years later, most Americans still remember Pat as an NFL athlete and soldier, but he is and will always be Tillman Military Scholar #1 in our community.
Arizona State University recognized Pat’s potential, both in the classroom and on the field, with a scholarship to play for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He earned first team Academic All-American honors and the NCAA’s Post-Graduate Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence – not to mention the admiration and high regard of his professors, coaches and fans alike. Between games, Pat earned a B.S. in Marketing, graduating Summa Cum Laude from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business in three-and-a-half years.
Pat’s NFL success neither went to his head nor broke his principles. He drove to games in the same beat-up truck he had in college. He had no cell phone. Instead, he chose to read voraciously and develop, debate and discuss his ideas with eager listeners, family and friends. He was a lifelong learner. He made other’s passions his passions. In the off-season, he challenged himself physically with marathons and half-ironman triathlons, while pursuing a master’s degree in history from his alma mater. And he took an active role in the community volunteering with Boys Hope Girls Hope and the March of Dimes, and visiting students in schools across the Phoenix Valley to read and discuss books.
After September 11th happened, the rest is history. But Pat’s early legacy of service, learning and action lives on in each of our Tillman Military Scholars. In his name, we’re grateful for your continued support and dedication to help each of them make an impact for our country and communities for years to come.