Alan Page comes to campus

Minnesota’s first African-American Supreme Court justice set to speak tomorrow night on the importance of mentoring



Story by Ellis Williams, Sports Editor

Tomorrow, the first African-American Supreme Court justice in Minnesota history, Alan Page will deliver a speech inside Schofield Auditorium as part of UW-Eau Claire’s The Forum series.

The National Football League Hall of Famer said his speech titled “Mentoring and Role Models: Two Things Students Cannot Live Without,” is about the importance of people working to making the world a better place.

He hopes to convey his message by sharing his history of how he got to where he is today.

“Education was something my parents stressed,” Page said, and overtime it become clear to me that is a tool anyone can use to achieve their hopes and dreams.

The former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman founded the Page Education Foundation in 1988. His foundation offers scholarships and encouragement to students of color who face barriers trying to attain their educational ambitions.

Senior AJ Lawton said he is eager to attend The Forum and learn from Page as he has aspirations to become a lawyer himself.

The future Marquette law school attendee said though he hopes to have a moment to pick Justice Page’s brain about law; what Lawton is most intrigued by is the challenges Page overcame while becoming a lawyer in the 1970’s.

“With all the discrimination African-Americans faced in general but specifically in the law community while he was in school,” Lawton said. “(His accomplishments) are really impressive.”

During his time with the Vikings, Page attended the University of Minnesota Law School. As a pro athlete by day and a college student by night; he faced many obstacles in his life.

Page said he has never spent time worrying about people’s motivations behind the difficulties they may have caused him. Instead he kept his head down and focused on the duty at hand.

Whether the task was sacking the opposing quarterback or passing the bar, Page said he did not let the distractions in his peripherals affect him.

“Life presents obstacles; I have never focused on the source of the obstacles,” Page said. “I was focused on just overcoming of the obstacles.”

Growing up as a Vikings fan, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, Kristin Schumacher remembers watching Page conquer opposing offensive lines as if they were just one more roadblock in his life.

As the overseer of The Forum series, she said the university chose to bring Page to Eau Claire because of the value he places on mentoring others.

“Whether you are a college student, a fifth grader or a 50-year-old person, there is always going to be somebody who needs to be a mentor for you in life,” Schumacher said.

Page will speak at 7:30 tomorrow in Schofield Auditorium. Check back tomorrow for full coverage of the event.