Commencement Speaker Thaddeus Bullard
University of Florida Hall of Famer Thaddeus Bullard, known across the globe as WWE Superstar Titus O'Neil and a widely recognized children’s advocate and champion, will serve as UF’s university-wide commencement speaker this spring in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
At UF, Bullard, who graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2000, was a standout defensive end, and he received three Goodwill Gator awards as well as University Presidential Recognition. He was also elected student body vice president and was part of Florida Blue Key, Florida's prestigious leadership and public service organization.
"With his inspiring life story, strong bond to UF, considerable talent as an entertainer and dedication to helping young people triumph over difficult circumstances, Thaddeus is ideally suited to serve as our university wide commencement speaker," said UF President Kent Fuchs. "I know that the Class of 2020 will enjoy his speech and benefit greatly from his message and perspective."
After playing for the Gators and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, Bullard joined WWE as Titus O’Neil and became a fixture on programs like Raw and Smackdown. Today, Bullard is known for his extensive philanthropy with young people in his communities. He has raised thousands for scholarships and millions for non-profit organizations such as the United Way, Susan G. Komen and the Special Olympics.
His dedication to helping kids stems from powerful experiences in his own childhood. Bullard’s mother was raped then gave birth to him when she was 12 years old. Things were tough for him as a kid, and he ended up going to the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch. The role models who believed in him at the ranch set him on his path to success.
Bullard published his first book, “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: How I Went from Stereotype to Prototype” in August of 2019.