On Thursday, April 15, five University of San Diego students were given a rare opportunity to take part in a City Club of San Diego luncheon, meant to honor the late legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson. The City Club, run by renowned San Diegan George Mitrovich, has celebrated dialogue, democracy and the power found in community for over thirty-five years.
Students Brandon Myers ’10, Joe Bello ’10, Angela Aguilar ‘10, Mahad Ghani ’13, Sophia Carrillo ’13 and Michelle Matter ’10 (pictured, at right) attended the luncheon in conjunction with their class “Politics and Media Inside the Beltway.”
Jackie Robinson, a four sport athlete and military veteran, is probably best known for his prowess on the baseball diamond, and as the first player of color to play in Major League Baseball. In addition to his role on the Brooklyn Dodgers that integrated MLB, Robinson was an outspoken civil rights leader for many years, both during and following his baseball career.
Each year, on the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game in Major League Baseball, players across the country wear Robinson’s “42” with pride, honoring his historic baseball career, as well as his work to end segregation.
This year, to celebrate Robinson’s anniversary, the City Club hosted a luncheon at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. Michael Long, PhD, an associate professor at Elizabethtown College, spoke with emotion about his new book, A Special Tribute to the Life and Memory of Jackie Robinson – The Man Who Changed America. Having had the honor to work with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson and daughter, Sharon Robinson, on the book, Long wove Robinson’s story beautifully, highlighting that as gifted as Robinson was in the game of baseball, his true talents were found off the field in fighting for equality for African Americans.
“I was honored that George Mitrovich invited my classmates and I to attend the City Club Luncheon,” said USD student Michelle Matter. “It was enlightening to hear Dr. Long speak about Jackie Robinson as civil rights advocate in addition to his accomplishments as a baseball player. I believe all the students in the room felt inspired to continue our educational goals after hearing that Jackie Robinson’s biggest regret in life was not finishing his college degree.”
— Melissa Wagoner and Michelle Matter ‘10