2024 Commencement Speaker



Steven Jackson

Steven Jackson, Oregon State alumnus, former Beavers football player, philanthropist, and star NFL running back will be the keynote speaker at Oregon State’s 155th Commencement Ceremony.

Steven Jackson headshot

Steven has been an inspiration to generations of Beavers for his leadership and accomplishments in athletics, philanthropy, media and the arts. He was drafted in the first round as the 24th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft to the then St. Louis Rams and later played for the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. Over the course of 12 seasons, he amassed 11,438 rushing yards, 3,683 receiving yards, and 68 touchdowns, ranking him among the all-time best in the game. He is a three-time Pro Bowl running back, the all-time leading rusher for the Los Angeles Rams, and 18th all-time leading rusher for the league.

Steven has served as an on-air commentator and analyst for ESPN and NFL Network, and often appears on Fox Business News discussing sports, business, and philanthropy. He has a passion for humanitarian work and empowering others. In 2004, he launched the Steven Jackson Foundation, which supports literacy programs for children, after-school programs, and new technology for schools. In 2018, he scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and built water wells in Tanzania to raise awareness of the need for clean water around the world.

In 2014, Steven collaborated with world-renowned artist Michael Kalish on an exhibition of his own art at the prestigious Hamilton-Selway Gallery in Los Angeles and, most recently, he co-founded the lifestyle brand OBS and the Original Barber School in Las Vegas. He has been profiled by USA Today, ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Fox Business, and HBO’s Hard Knocks and he was nominated for the Webby Awards for Best Online Sports Video for producing A Week in the Life with Steven Jackson.

Steven’s significant contributions in Oregon and beyond began here at Oregon State, and he continues to be a strong advocate on behalf of OSU students and employees. After playing for OSU from 2001 to 2003 and a 12-year career in the NFL, he returned to OSU to complete his undergraduate degree, earning a BS in human development and family science in 2020. In 2022, he created the Jackson Family Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund to support the university’s goal to recruit underrepresented faculty and staff. In 2023, he was inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame. Currently he serves on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Oregon State University Athletic Director Board.

OSU is honored that Steven Jackson will give the 2024 commencement address, inspiring and motivating graduates as they begin their lives beyond OSU.