Over his seven year NFL career, New England Patriots running back James White has become both a Super Bowl champion and team captain, but now he can add college graduate to his list of life accomplishments.
This past weekend, White officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in life sciences communication.
“My parents always stressed how important it was for me to get my degree,” White told UWBadgers.com. “Every offseason, they would get on me and ask, am I taking classes? They kept me motivated. My wife, Diana, kept me motivated as well to finish up … It was always at the forefront of my mind.”
White played football for the Wisconsin Badgers from 2010-2013 but declared for the NFL Draft before he could complete his degree.
Instead the Patriots selected White seven years ago Monday with the 130th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.
"Going into college that was one of my goals besides trying to make it in the NFL. It was to graduate, and now that I've gotten it done, it's definitely a blessing."@SweetFeet_White, we are so proud of you and how you represent Wisconsinhttps://t.co/aWO5gNr9ws || #UWGrad 🎓 pic.twitter.com/1DBXNBK1gL
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) May 8, 2021
White told UWBadgers.com that his father was the inspiration behind his decision to return to school.
“I would see how my dad would study for his promotions in the police department. When I was younger, I didn’t realize what he was doing. But as I got older, I realized his dedication to studying and getting those promotions. It was only right I would dedicate myself to finish my work (at the UW).”
James alongside his wife Diana decided it was best that he would go back, but only if he could surprise his parents.
“The plan was … I was taking classes without telling anybody,” White said. “We were going to kind of surprise them with the degree because, like I said, every offseason they would mention it to me.”
Unfortunately, tragedy struck White and his family when his father was killed in an automobile accident last September. His mother was also in the car but survived the crash. White said “She’s not 100 percent yet, but she has continued to progress”.
“I know he’d be extremely proud”, White said when asked how pleased his father would have been with him graduating.
“Going into college that was one of my goals besides trying to make it in the NFL. It was to graduate, and now that I’ve gotten it done, it’s definitely a blessing.”
In memory of his father, James and his wife started the “Sweet Feet Foundation” back in March in an effort to “provide scholarships and resources for underprivileged youth for both athletic and academic students”.
“We just want to make an impact in the community and try to motivate kids,” he said. “Whether school-related or life-related, we want them to know we’re here for them and not just to give them the money to get through college, but to build relationships.”
Awesome work James, congratulations!
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