Rutgers says Eric LeGrand will speak at commencement

May 6, 2014 12:09:05 PM PDT
Rutgers University now says Eric LeGrand will speak at commencement, blaming confusion over whether LeGrand would speak on miscommunication.

Rutgers University had asked Eric LeGrand to be its commencement speaker, but LeGrand said the school suddenly pulled the offer off the table. The former Scarlet Knights defensive tackle was paralyzed during a game in 2010. He tweeted the news late Monday night.

In a statement, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said he would personally give a degree to LeGrand as a representative of the Class of 2014.

"It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate," Barchi said. " Eric holds a special place in the hearts of the Class of 2014 and the entire university community. We are thrilled that he will be joining us on stage to make this special occasion even more memorable."

LeGrand released the following statement on his Facebook page:
"After speaking with President Barchi, I will be joining Governor Kean at the Rutgers' Commencement ceremony on May 18th . There was miscommunication and an honest mistake on their end. I have only love and respect for Rutgers University. They supported me from day 1. It is because of their support that I am able to graduate, as they made sure I had all the resources necessary to continue with school and work towards my degree. Let's keep the conversation focused on the graduates---the future leaders of tomorrow--on their accomplishments and hard work. I look forward to celebrating this occasion with my peers and let's hear it for the Class of 2014!"

On Monday, LeGrand said he planned to tell his story to the graduates. .

"Starting in 2005, being recruited by Rutgers and what it meant to me to play here and go to school here. And then the way everybody supported me through my injury, I was just going to give inspirational words about how they should attack life.

"All the things I've learned so far. All the [graduates], they're my age so I was going to try to [say] words they could remember, words that would inspire them to do great things in life."

Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean was officially announced as Rice's replacement Monday, hours before LeGrand took to Twitter.

Rutgers' commencement is May 18.