Curt Schilling, retired Red Sox pitcher, philanthropist, and founder of 38 Studios, a video game development company, will deliver the address at the university's 142nd commencement exercises on Saturday, May 15, the university announced today.
"As an athlete, Curt Schilling was known for his remarkable talent, his drive, his leadership, and his ability to captivate a crowd," said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "It is exciting to see him drawing on those same qualities as he turns his attention to building a presence in the rapidly emerging game development industry. I'm grateful to Curt for the support he has given to students in our Interactive Media & Game Development program, which WPI launched in 2005 as the first program of its kind in the nation.
"Curt and WPI also share a profound commitment to excellence and assisting others, which he has demonstrated time and again through his philanthropic work. He presents a superb role model for our graduates, and I know he will inspire them."
Schilling is best known for the 20 years he spent in Major League Baseball as a right-handed starting pitcher. Over that span, he was a member of three World Series championship teams and was a six-time MLB All-Star. Schilling helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993 and was instrumental in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2001 World Series victory. Joining the Boston Red Sox in 2004, he led the majors with 20 wins in his first season with the team. That October he helped lead the Red Sox to victory in the American League Championship Series, winning Game 6 with an injured ankle and wearing the now famous blood-soaked sock. His win in Game 2 of the World Series that year helped lead Boston to its first championship since 1918. Three years later he contributed to another Red Sox World Series win, becoming the second oldest pitcher to start and win a World Series game. He retired in March 2009 with a career postseason record of 11–2.
Schilling's post-baseball career has centered on his two other passions: philanthropy and video games. In 2006 he founded 38 Studios, a video game development and entertainment company based in Maynard, Mass. 38 Studios is working to create and deliver an online entertainment experience inspired by the creative and artistic visions of pop-culture icons R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane. The company's product line is expected to go beyond the online gaming genre into novels, comics, toys, console games, movies, TV, and more. Prior to founding 38 Studios, Schilling had been involved in the video game industry for over a decade, having formed a relationship with Sony Online Entertainment in the late 1990s and serving as the official spokesperson for The 3DO Company's High Heat Major League Baseball.
Also well known for his philanthropic work, Schilling is a passionate supporter of care for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) sufferers. Through his nonprofit organization, Curt's Pitch for ALS, he has raised over $10 million to fight ALS. Schilling also supports his wife Shonda's personal charity, The Shade Foundation of America (www.shadefoundation.org), which is devoted to eradicating melanoma through education, detection, and prevention of skin cancer; and to promoting sun safety. In May 2009 the Schillings announced their support for the Asperger's Association of New England, saying they hoped to raise a half-million dollars for Massachusetts General Hospital's Children’s YouthCare program, a therapeutically based program that focuses on helping autistic children develop social skills.