The leadership of Universidad Europea de Madrid recognized Rafael Nadal with an honorary doctoral degree on May 4, 2015 at the university’s Villaviciosa campus. Nadal was recognized for being a world-class tennis player, as well as for the values that have played a key role in the success he has enjoyed throughout his career.
After receiving the honorary doctoral degree, Nadal spoke about the passion he has for sport and the hard work and values that have enabled him to reach the top of the tennis world. He shared his gratitude to Universidad Europea for this recognition and highlighted the contributions of his family, his team and his friends, without which his success would not have been possible. The tennis great cited respect, hard work, and the ability to dream as the values that define him.
Nadal also spoke about the importance of athletes as role models for young people and the need for everyone to model the values that they want to see in the future. He called on the university’s students to become excellent professionals and excellent people.
Águeda Benito, rector of Universidad Europea, reminded participants of the reason why universities recognize people like Rafael Nadal with honorary doctoral degrees; the need to recognize those who go above and beyond and through doing so teach us all how to be better people. She highlighted that, on or off the court, Nadal exemplifies the values of effort, cordiality, humility and a constant effort to continue learning.
Nadal is currently ranked number 3 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and is considered one of the all-time greatest tennis players on clay. He has won 14 Grand Slams and a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
A year ago he created the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which is focused on creating programs for the disadvantaged that focus on education and sport. This year, the foundation organized the Rafa Nadal Tour with MAPFRE, a tennis circuit that merges competition with education by encouraging young people to challenge themselves and develop interpersonal skills.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.