Jay Wright ’83: 2023 Commencement Speaker


Greg Carroccio Sideline Photo

Photo Courtesy of Villanova University Athletic Communications.

Clara McCormick, Sports Editor

Jay Wright ‘83, head coach of the Villanova Men’s Basketball team will be the 2023 Commencement Speaker. 

“President Bravman contacted me, and it was a shock,” Wright said. “ A lot of guys, especially my basketball teammates, laughed when they heard I was going to be the Commencement Speaker. Thinking about how I was during my college days, they probably thought I’d be the last person to be Commencement Speaker. I was really honored and really humbled.”

Wright was very humble, but is extremely qualified and deserving of the honor. 

During his time at Bucknell, Wright was a member of the Men’s Basketball team and a brother at Sigma Chi. He graduated from the university with a degree in economics and sociology. 

“Socially, all of the great friends I’ve made that I stay in touch with to this day,” is what Wright recalled as his favorite memory from Bucknell.

“Everybody was so different. I obviously made friends in basketball, I made friends that were in theater, that were in business, that were in music — so many different people from who I grew up with. The funny thing is that going to school in Lewisburg, Pa., the middle of nowhere, expanded my horizons on the world because of the people I’ve met.”

Wright is known across the country as one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time.

He led Villanova to two NCAA championships (2016 and 2018) and four Final Four appearances since he took on the head coach position in 2001. He held a record of 520-197 (7.25) from 2001 until his retirement in 2022.

Due to his accomplishments and inspirational spirit, he was the Commencement Speaker for Villanova University last year. He credited Bucknell for making him a “lifetime learner,” a trait that he says has contributed to his successes. 

“I’ve always tried to continue to learn,” Wright said. “The intellect of my friends at Bucknell, as well as the intellect of my professors, really inspired me.”

In order to achieve all he has, Wright claimed to live by his life motto, which is “attitude.”

“The two things that we can control in this world are our effort in everything we do and our attitude in how we approach each day,” Wright said. “So when I say the word ‘attitude’ to myself – we used to say it as a team at Villanova – it means that you give your best effort every day.” 

Commencement is celebrating the graduating class of 2023, which is a class that has endured a lot these past four years.

Wright’s advice to them is to “find your passion and live every day with your best effort and a positive attitude towards that passion. Judge yourself each day on your effort, your attitude and your character, and accept what comes from that. Understand what you have control of and what you don’t have control of. The results of each day are God’s plan.”

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