Former NFL Star and Community Advocate to Receive Honorary Doctorate in Philanthropy
BETHANY, W.Va. – Charlie Batch, an NFL star quarterback who played for both the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers before becoming a nationally-recognized advocate for urban communities, will deliver the commencement address at Bethany College’s 178th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m.
In a career that has spanned 20 years, Batch has been a professional athlete, a television analyst, an entrepreneur, an advocate for disadvantaged communities, philanthropist, and a champion of numerous issues affecting children and health.
In recognition of his multi-faceted career and achievements in public service, Bethany College will bestow on Batch an honorary Doctor of Philanthropy degree.
“Charlie Batch’s example of tenacity, hard work, and dedication in service to the community is a model for 21st century American life,” said Bethany College President Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg. “The impact of his work and message will be a clarion call to the Class of 2018 at a time when public service is needed more than ever. We’re honored to welcome him to Bethany College.”
Batch, a native of Pittsburgh’s Homestead neighborhood, was a standout quarterback for Eastern Michigan University from 1994-97 where he set nearly all of the school’s passing records before being drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 1998. For the Lions, and later the Pittsburgh Steelers, Batch enjoyed an outstanding career as quarterback and completed 15 seasons in the National Football League, where he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl XL and XLIII Championship Teams. His leadership within the NFL extended far beyond the gridiron to include positions as the Vice President, Executive Committee for the NFL Players Association and NFL Spokesperson for the United Way.
Since his retirement from the NFL, Batch has continued to be a respected television analyst, providing game commentary for a variety of national sports outlets. He also serves as Senior Captain for The Trust–Powered by the National Football League Players Association, an initiative that Mr. Batch helped negotiate with NFL team owners that helps former players achieve their dreams after football.
Batch is also a co-founder of the sports technology company, Impellia, which provides technologies that empower sports medicine professionals and athletes with a platform from which they can quantify and monitor human physiology to improve athletic outcomes.
His interest in sports medicine also extends to research. Batch is a Player Advisor on the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University and an Advisory Council Member for the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute.
He has also established himself as a community advocate, philanthropist and public speaker. In 1999, he created the ‘Best of the Batch Foundation,’ a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in disadvantaged communities. The Batch Foundation serves more than 3,800 youth annually through several programs, including sports & recreation, STEAM labs, computer literacy, reading, mentoring & tutoring, scholarships and many more.
In addition to his own foundation, Batch is a member of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Humane Animal Rescue, and the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute Advisory Council. He is also a local advisor for Google’s Pittsburgh Impact Challenge.
Batch is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Western Pennsylvania & West Virginia, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the NFLPA Byron “Whizzer” White Man of the Year Award, the United Way of Allegheny County Outstanding Campaign Volunteer of the Year and the Baptist Ministries Conference Award, “Hero in the Midst.”
Batch holds a bachelors degree from Eastern Michigan University, a masters of science degree from Robert Morris University, and four honorary doctorate degrees.
About Bethany College
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.