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Buccaneer tight end John Gilmore to speak at commencement

photo of John Gilmore, Jr.
John Gilmore, Jr.
John Gilmore Jr., tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former four-year letterman at Penn State, will be the keynote speaker at the Penn State Berks spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 10 a.m. in the Beaver Community Center. A new class of more than 150 Penn State Berks students will participate in the ceremony, receiving their baccalaureate and associate degrees. A total of 230 students will have earned their degrees from Penn State Berks this May.

A native of the City of Reading, Gilmore teamed up with fellow Wilson High School graduate and Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne in 2010 to create the Gilmore/Henne Community Fund, which provides grants to revitalize parks and recreational facilities in Berks County. The fund also provides financial support for Berks County students who engage in scholastic sports, while maintaining a respectable GPA, and plan to continue their education at the collegiate level.

The idea for the fund was inspired by Gilmore’s return to the Reading where he found the city’s parks and recreation areas in extreme disarray with excess litter, vandalized equipment, and tangible evidence of drug dealing. Utilizing his Penn State degree and his strong commitment to the community, Gilmore partnered with Henne to establish the fund, which is administered by the Berks County Community Foundation. In its inaugural fundraising gala held at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in Reading in June 2010, the Gilmore/Henne Community Fund raised over $120,000.  

2011 marked Gilmore’s tenth season in the National Football League. Originally a 2002 sixth-round draft pick (#196 overall) of the New Orleans Saints, Gilmore played with the Chicago Bears for six years and just ended his third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prior to his NFL career, Gilmore played alongside his brother Pete at the Pennsylvania State University where he amassed more than fifty catches and 600 yards as a tight end playing for head coach Joe Paterno. In addition, Gilmore was a decorated athlete at Wilson High School, where he won numerous awards including Wilson’s 1996 male athlete of the year, and the Associated Press first-team All-State and first-team All-county in Berks.

Gilmore graduated in 2001 from Penn State University with a bachelor of science degree in Recreation and Parks Management, which he has put to good use in his charitable work. He resides with his wife Rebecca and their two children in Tampa, Florida.
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