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J. J. Watt featured in Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Thank You, 72 podcast and radio series

Watt talks about why he decided not to write a commencement speech.

May 03, 2019
JJ Watt

MADISON, WI (May 3, 2019) — The Wisconsin Alumni Association today announced that former Wisconsin Badger football standout, J. J. Watt, is the guest on their May edition of the Thank You, 72 podcast and radio series.

Watt, who now plays professionally with the Houston Texans, has been called the best defensive player of his generation. He was also name 2017 Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Watt is returning to Camp Randall Stadium on May 11, not to play football but to be the spring commencement speaker for the UW–Madison graduation class of 2019.

Watt took some ribbing when he announced he didn’t plan to write a commencement speech as requested by the university. “The most natural and real way for me to get my message across is to just speak,” Watt said. “At the end of the day, I want the students and I want the people in attendance to know this is coming from me, this is coming from my heart, these are things that I think are important.”

Thank You, 72 celebrates outstanding Badgers from Wisconsin’s 72 counties. It is a way of saying thank you to the people of this state for sending their best to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Both the podcast and radio series feature the inspiring stories of UW alumni who are changing the world.

The podcast will be available to download at, and on Apple iTunes and other podcast platforms. J. J. Watt’s interview will also be shared on 86 Wisconsin Radio Network stations across the state.

“These trailblazers are a positive force of change in Wisconsin and around the nation,” says Sarah Schutt, chief alumni officer and executive director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “Everyone in Wisconsin can feel proud of these Badgers and hear how they are representing the state and the UW in a new and easily accessible way.”

Future guests will include journalist Greta Van Susteren, Native American activist Ada Deer, and world-renowned neuropathologist Ann McKee.

Media Information

Contact: Tod Pritchard,, 608-609-5217, @WisAlumni

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