Bethlehem, PA. — Lehigh University has announced that CJ McCollum, the point guard for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, will deliver the keynote address at the university’s 155th Undergraduate Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 21, 2023.

McCollum expressed his gratitude for the opportunity, saying, “Lehigh has had such a profound impact on the trajectory of my life; I honed my skills as a player, developed personally as a man, and met my wife there. I’m excited to send the next class of Mountain Hawks off to start their very bright futures.”

Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ’82 also shared his excitement about McCollum’s selection, praising his commitment to excellence and dedication.

During his undergraduate years, McCollum was a journalism major and served as an editor for The Brown & White, Lehigh’s student newspaper. He also interned with Lehigh Athletics and received the Class of 1904 Award in 2012, which is given based on character, scholarship, and promise of future leadership.

McCollum’s success on the basketball court is well-known. He played as a guard for the Mountain Hawks, where he earned several accolades, including the Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2010, Patriot League Player of the Year in 2010 and 2012, and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in 2010 and 2012. As a senior, he led the nation in scoring averages with 24.9, and he was the first student-athlete from Lehigh to enter the NBA.

McCollum was drafted 10th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2013 and spent eight years with the team. He was named the Most Improved Player during his third season (2015-2016) and led the Blazers to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2022 and helped lead the team to the playoffs that same year.

In addition to his basketball career, McCollum is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He serves as president of the NBPA Foundation, an organization that highlights and celebrates the work of players to impact their communities worldwide. McCollum has also created the CJ McCollum Dream Centers, which provide resources to help students from underserved communities, and leads the CJ’s Press Pass Program, a journalism-based mentorship program for high school students.

Beyond his work in service to others, McCollum is an NBA analyst for ESPN and hosts the CJ McCollum Show podcast. He is also an avid wine enthusiast and founder of a wine label in 2018.

McCollum is married to Dr. Elise McCollum ’13, ’14G, whom he met at Lehigh, and they have a son named Jacobi. The family currently resides in Metairie, Louisiana.

Visit Lehigh’s Commencement website for more information on the event and updates.

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