Former American football player receives regents’ alumnus award

Steve Gleason’s organization has donated over $1.8 million in technology and equipment


KEISHA BROKAW | The Daily Evergreen

WSU alumnus and former football player was presented with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions to finding a cure for ALS.

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Cougar alumnus and former American football player Steve Gleason was presented with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award on Thursday. Gleason, who was greeted with a sizable crowd, was a four-year letter winner for the WSU baseball and football teams.

Once Gleason was given the chance to speak, the crowd welcomed him with an extensive applause. He immediately had the audience laughing.

“I’ll have to admit, until just a few weeks ago, I thought regents was a cafeteria,” Gleason said through his technology.

Keeping his speech short, Gleason ended by thanking family and friends like former Cougar football Head Coach Mike Price. When Gleason played for Price, he specifically remembered one thing that he believes sums up what being a Cougar is all about.

“I’m interested in what you can do for other people that can’t do anything for you in return,” Gleason said.

KEISHA BROKAW | The Daily Evergreen
Steve Gleason is a former NFL safety.

More famously, Gleason is known for his documented battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), informally known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He started the Team Gleason foundation with the help of his friends and family, which has benefited many by raising public awareness and money for treatments.

One speaker said that while most people dream about doing something, Gleason just does it. He reiterated the point that Gleason is a game-changer on and off the field.

Top-of-the-line technology has helped Gleason communicate his message that there will be, “no white flags.” In this, Gleason’s determination has been an inspiration to many.

Team Gleason has donated over $1.8 million to find a cure for ALS.

Due to the viral Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, Team Gleason raised nearly $1 million, according to the Team Gleason website. In over a year since the start of the challenge, Team Gleason donated over $1.8 million worth of technology and equipment. Though, the foundation ultimately hopes a cure will be found.

The regents award one alumnus or alumna for their distinguished work that touches the world every year. They must examine a lengthy list of candidates and make the tough decision of choosing one. Some past recipients include astronaut John Fabian and broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow.

By the end of this year’s award ceremony, the entire crowd was standing and cheering the WSU fight song in honor of Gleason.