Former NBA star and mental health advocate Metta World Peace will be the speaker at Chaffey College's first in-person commencement ceremony in three years , the Rancho Cucamonga community college announced Wednesday.
Chaffey College's 105th commencement ceremony takes place on May 19 at the Toyota Arena in Ontario.
Superintendent/President Henry Shannon said they were looking forward to hear from Metta World Peace, who became mental health advocate after retiring from the NBA, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
"Not only has he made a name for himself fin basketball history, he continues to inspire generations today through his advocacy for mental health and education," Shannon said in a statement.
Born Ron Artest, the NBA All-Star and 2004 Defensive Player of the Year became infamous for his role in the "Malice at the Palace" brawl between himself, members of the Detroit Pistons, and fans in the stands. He was suspended for the remainder of that season.
He seemed to turn a corner when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, winning his first championship ring in 2010 and famously thanking his psychiatrist for helping him get to that point. He changed his name in the offseason to Metta World Peace.
Post-basketball, Metta World Peace has taken part in mental health awareness campaigns in Los Angeles, New York City, and with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He also worked with Congresswoman Grace Napolitano in 2010 to launch "The Mental Health in Schools Act."
Chaffey College says it will award more than 4,600 degrees and certificates to more than 1,000 students this year, the first in-person commencement ceremony in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The college will also award the title of valedictorian to 18 students this year, the most in Chaffey's history.
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