Arlington, Va. – The founder of Under Armour challenged more than 450 graduating seniors at
Marymount University’s commencement ceremonies Sunday to be entrepreneurs – whether they start
their own businesses or work for Fortune 500 companies – stressing that the role has never been more
“Help, encourage and be positive for change and new directions,” Kevin A. Plank said,
speaking at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. “I promise you the return will be greater
than anything you can imagine.”
Plank started Under Armour selling one type of athletic shirt with $17,000 in sales in 1996, the
year the former college football player graduated from the University of Maryland. His company now
produces footwear, apparel and monitoring devices and does business in 61 countries. He expects
annual revenues this year of close to $3 billion.
“Entrepreneurship is more a spirit and an attitude than it is a career path,” he said, noting that
he started out with the vague idea “of being an entrepreneur selling stretchy T-shirts.”
He developed the concept after playing football throughout his life and wearing sweat-soaked
cotton T-shirts under his pads. He visited a fabric store and a tailor and came up with seven prototype
shirts that were lightweight, ﬁt like a second skin and shed moisture.
He said entrepreneurs solve problems and create jobs.
“In 2014, I’d like to challenge all of you to ﬁnd a problem to solve,” he said.
Marymount awarded Plank an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his
entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to philanthropic efforts.
Plank established the Cupid’s Cup Business and Innovation Competition and Showcase in 2006
for young entrepreneurs and is an active supporter of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for
Entrepreneurship. Under Armour also supports initiatives promoting breast health, supporting members
of the armed forces and providing access to sports for children in underserved communities.
Chelsea Marie Ritter, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, gave the address for
the graduating class.
“Will the real world be difﬁcult?” she asked. “Yes. Will we sometimes face defeat? Of course.
But when we can look back at everything we’ve accomplished, we know that we’re ready for whatever
is to come.”
Dr. Marguerite Rippy, a Marymount professor and chair of the Department of Literature and
Languages, addressed 350 graduate students in an afternoon ceremony.
PHOTO 1 - Kevin A. Plank, founder and chief executive officer of Under Armour, holds up his honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)
PHOTO 2 - Kevin A. Plank is hooded by Carmelita Treacy '60, a member of the University's Board of Trustees and presented with his honorary degree by President Matthew D. Shank. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)
PHOTO 3 - Chelsea Marie Ritter, who gave the address for the graduating class, shoots a “selfie” with her phone. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)
PHOTO 4 - These Saints were happy to get their advanced degrees from the Arts and Sciences Graduate School. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)
PHOTO 5 - President Matthew D. Shank addresses the more than 450 members of Marymount’s Class of 2014 at this year’s commencement ceremony, which was held Sunday, May 18 at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)