Alex Sheen named Spring 2019 commencement speaker

May 4 ceremonies to take place at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

ATHENS — Alex Sheen, the founder of “because I said I would,” will deliver Ohio University’s Spring 2019 undergraduate commencement speech. “because I said I would” is an international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept.

Sheen is a 2007 Ohio University graduate who earned a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing.

“because I said I would,” which has touched millions of lives worldwide, was sparked by the loss of Sheen’s father, Al Sheen, who died on Sept. 4, 2012, after battling small cell lung cancer.

Asked to give his father’s eulogy, Sheen said he found himself going back to the same theme — that his father was a man of his word and always kept his promises. He titled his father’s eulogy, “because I said I would,” and distributed for the first time, at his father’s funeral, what he called “Promise Cards.”

Those promise cards have now made their way around the world, as his organization sends them to anyone, anywhere at no cost. Since its creation, “because I said I would” has sent more than 10 million promise cards to more than 153 countries.

“In a society where accountability continues to slip away from meaning, sometimes we need a reminder that our promises still matter and always will,” Sheen said. “That is what the Promise Card was made to do. Write your promise on the card and give it to the person you’re making that promise to. Honor your commitment and earn the card back. A single promise can change a life forever and the promise to graduate is certainly evidence of that. But perhaps the bigger moment is what these Bobcats will promise next.”

The promises written on these cards have made headlines around the world, as have Sheen’s charitable projects and awareness campaigns, garnering coverage from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, The Today Show, NPR, The Los Angeles Times and many other news organizations.

“We are honored and thrilled to have such an outstanding person return to his alma matter to share his passion and wisdom with our community,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “We know Alex’s message will inspire our graduates to not only achieve great things, but to become more accountable to their promises and hold each other accountable to change humanity for the better.”

Ohio University’s Spring 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremonies will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on May 4 in the Convocation Center on Ohio University’s Athens Campus. Tickets are not required for the ceremonies. The ceremonies last around two-and-a-half hours.

May 4 ceremonies to take place at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.