Larry Fitzgerald

A pro football star’s promise to his mom drove him to succeed at home, on the field and in the classroom.

Why would a star wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals put in the time, work and dedication required to earn his college degree? If you’re Larry Fitzgerald and you made a promise to your mother to complete your education, the choice is easy.

Growing up, Larry’s mother, Carol, taught him that no matter what path he took in life, the journey wouldn’t be complete without a college degree. Before she passed away from breast cancer in 2003, Larry promised his mother that he would earn his diploma. Larry was a sophomore in college when he was drafted third overall in the 2004 pro football Draft and decided to leave school to pursue his dreams of playing pro ball, but despite his fame and success over the years, he never forgot that promise.

When Larry decided to finish his college degree, he knew University of Phoenix was the perfect fit to provide the flexibility and support he’d need as a professional athlete and father of two young sons. Applying the same discipline he uses on the field to his studies kept him going–and the support of his graduation team advisors, Ty and Jennifer, provided the encouragement, guidance and motivation he needed to focus to the finish.

It’s always been important for Larry to teach his kids the value of earning an education–just as his mother did for him–and now he wants to share that message with others. Larry worked with University of Phoenix to create the Focus to the Finish Scholarship® program, giving students who’ve paused their college education an opportunity to realize the dream of completing their degree.

In May 2016—13 years after making the promise to his mother—Larry graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Communication and joined a proud community of nearly 1,000,000 University of Phoenix alumni. For Larry, nothing’s bigger than the sense of accomplishment from fulfilling his promise to his mother and honoring her memory, proving that love and determination can accomplish any goal.

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