NFL Hall of Famer and Texas Christian University football icon LaDainian Tomlinson and his alma mater on Monday announced the formation of The Tomlinson Student-Athlete Development Endowment Fund.
The fund will lend support to student-athletes from all of TCU's sports programs -- 21 in total -- to help them with their careers and lives following their graduations.
"A night with L.T. at TCU" on May 16 on the TCU campus will raise funds from private contributions for The Tomlinson Student-Athlete Development.
It will also benefit the Team America Foundation, which parallels the TCU Student-Athlete Development Department's core values of service and engagement, character and leadership, community and spiritual uplift and economic empowerment.
"LaDainian Tomlinson epitomizes the values we hold dear to TCU and we could not be more proud to strengthen our relationship with him and his team in this joint venture," TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati said in a press release. "When L.T. and I initially met, I was amazed how our visions for student-athlete development paralleled each other on the TCU side and with his foundation's work. Almost immediately, we were planning this fundraising initiative around the inaugural 'A Night with LT at TCU' event. We both understand how critically important student-athlete development programming can be in positively shaping the lives of young men and women long after their athletic careers are over."
Helping to serve TCU and its student-athletes is an avenue Tomlinson is happy to serve.
"Since retirement, I have been working with my team to find the very best opportunities to serve," Tomlinson said. "One of the greatest opportunities afforded me is certainly being a trustee. As I'm already engaged in year-round leadership development in other sectors, we are in perfect alignment with TCU's student-athlete development programs and ultimately support TCU's Lead On initiative. I look forward to our teams working closely to help build elite citizens year-round. We have to train these young leaders how to do what we are asking them to do. Leadership is developed year-round, not in retreats or semesters. We have the opportunity to lead the nation, and I intend to help ensure we do just that through this partnership."
For the last three years, Tomlinson has served as one of four selectors on the NFL's finalist selection committee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which he won in 2006. In addition, he is a founding board member for Start Up Waco, a part of Team America's Economic Empowerment Initiative, board member for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, Chairman of the Team America Foundation, chairman and CEO of the Tomlinson Center for Leadership, an ambassador for the Disabled American Veterans, partner for the U.S. Marine Corps' City Partnership program, an analyst for the NFL Network and Special Assistant to the Owner for Community Engagement with the Los Angeles Chargers.
One of the all-time greats as far as NFL running backs are concerned, Tomlinson was a 2017 inductee into the NFL Hall of Fame after a decorated career with the San Diego Chargers that concluded with two seasons for the New York Jets from 2010-2011. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade team and the 2006 NFL MVP. At TCU, which retired his No. 5 jersey, he was a Doak Walker Award winner and All-American in 2000.
For those interested in supporting TCU's student-athlete development program, please contact the TCU Frog Club at (817) 257-7700.