May 17, 2014 8:39 PM by Ashlea Bullington
Today, in honor of all his great accomplishments, Charles 'Peanut' Tillman was the UL Lafayette 2014 Spring Graduation commencement speaker. Tillman gave an encouraging message to the new alums starting their next chapter in life from his life mantra; "We become what we think about". He offered graduates the secrets to his success, and shared some of his motivation. Tillman said that no amount of fame or fortune can add up to doing what you love. He continued with disclosing that the people that inspire him most in life are the ones who take their gifts and make difference.
Tillman told KATC, "I hope to be an inspiration or give some inspirational thoughts and words to the graduates."
His passion for football is only topped by his passion for helping others. The Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation provides opportunities and resources to children, or their families, who are in need. The foundation helps more than 370,000 pediatric patients each year who are seriously ill. The patients are provided with access to iPads, laptops and video game systems while they're hospitalized. Since 2005, Tillman's charitable efforts have impacted the lives of over a million Chicago-area children.
Tillman has an affinity for men and women who serve in the U.S. military and their families. Manifesting those feelings close to home, his father had a 20-year Army career. He credits his dad for teaching him life lessons about teamwork, leadership and commitment. In 2010, Tillman contacted the Army to volunteer to support U.S. troops in the Middle East. That led to an eight-day USO tour in Iraq and Kuwait. He was then presented with the NFL's Salute to Service Award by USAA, a financial service for military families, in 2012. The combination of athletic performance and community service earned Tillman the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in February 2014.
Charles 'Peanut' Tillman graduated from UL in 2002 with a degree in Law Enforcement. He was a four year letterman for the Ragin' Cajuns who received All-American recognition. Tilman was named an All-Independent selection in 2000 and was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection. He was selected in the second round of the 2003 draft and has been a two time pro bowler leading the Chicago Bears in defensive touchdowns.