Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty

Jason and Devin McCourty
Jason and Devin McCourty

2019 Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

Doctor of Humane Letters

Rutgers is proud to bestow upon Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty, graduates of Rutgers University–New Brunswick, honorary doctorates of humane letters degrees. Both were standout players for Rutgers football, landed on different NFL teams (Devin in New England and Jason in Tennessee) after Rutgers, and now both play for the New England Patriots. On February 3, 2019, they became the first set of twins to play together in, and win, a Super Bowl.

The McCourty twins have leveraged their fame and dedicated their time to address sickle cell disease by collaborating with the New Brunswick-based nonprofit Embrace Kids Foundation. In 2013, they launched "Tackle Sickle Cell" to educate the public, increase blood donations, and raise funding and awareness for this painful, chronic disease. Their support is not in name only. They both regularly attend major blood drives and fundraising events to support the cause. The brothers have raised over $1.5 million to support families battling sickle cell disease.

The McCourty twins’ philanthropic success does not end with "Tackle Sickle Cell." The brothers regularly run youth football camps, visit schools and children’s hospitals, volunteer at community centers, support disaster relief aid, and promote food drives for the underprivileged. They also have been strong advocates in the fight for criminal justice reform, fair educational funding, and racial equality at the federal, state, and local levels through awareness, education, and allocation of resources.

In appreciation for their efforts on and off the football field, the brothers have been Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees by their respective teams. They were also nominated for the 2014 and 2015 Byron "Whizzer" White Award, which recognizes players who go above and beyond to perform community service in their team’s cities and hometowns. The award is the highest honor that the NFL Players Association can give a player. In 2016, Devin and Jason were inducted into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, one of the highest distinctions any alumnus can receive, to recognize their outstanding achievements in professional and civic life.