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Photo: Matt Birk
2015 Honoree
Matt Birk 1998

Matt Birk, a six-time NFL Pro Bowler, ended his career in 2013 as one the most accomplished athletes in Harvard history.

Matt attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a letterman and standout in football, basketball, and track & field. He was an All-St. Paul Conference honoree, an Academic All-State honoree, and an All-State honoree in both football and basketball. Matt graduated from Cretin-Derham in 1994.

Matt earned three Harvard varsity football letters in 1995, '96, and '97. While playing for the Crimson, Matt attained All-Ivy League, All-New England, and Division I-AA All-ECAC first team football honors. Matt was drafted by his home state team, the Minnesota Vikings, in the 6th round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played center for the Vikings from 1998-2008 and the Baltimore Ravens from 2009-2013.

Matt's career honors include: Named to USA Today Sports Weekly's All-Decade (2000s) Team; The Sporting News All-Pro (2003); Associated Press second-team All-Pro (2003); and Pro Football Weekly's All-NFC (2000 and 2003).

In 2002 Matt established the HIKE Foundation which profoundly impacts the lives of "at risk" children by helping them through key educational transitions between elementary, middle school and high school. The foundation launched "Ready, Set, Read!" in select Baltimore area public schools in the fall of 2010. The program works with about 100,000 Baltimore students on improving their reading skills through an incentive-based system. Matt received the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2011 for his commitment to improving literacy among at-risk youth. In 2013, after an illustrious 15-year NFL career and a victory in Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens, he announced his retirement.

Today, Matt is an inspiring philanthropist, author, teacher, and motivational speaker on the topics of Leadership, Teamwork, and Success. He resides in Naples Florida with his wife Adrianna and their six children.

2013 Honoree
Jerry Jordan, 1961
2011 Honoree
Joseph J. "Joe" O'Donnell, 1967
2009 Honoree
John Chester Culver, 1954
2007 Honoree
Thomas F. Stephenson, 1964
2005 Honoree
John D. Nichols, 1953
2003 Honoree
Tommy Lee Jones, 1969
2001 Honoree
Danny M. Jiggetts, 1976