Broe Inspire Speaker Program

Doing the Math: From the NFL to M.I.T. and Lessons Learned Along the Way

John Urschel

John Urschel

John Urschel, one of Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" Outstanding Young Scientists will speak at 8 p.m. on April 10 at Pomona College’s Bridges Auditorium. The conversation is the inaugural event for the Broe Inspire lecture series and will be moderated by Professor of Mathematics Ami Radunskaya. The event is free and open to the public but tickets are required.

A former football player at the collegiate and professional levels, Urschel will discuss his unique path from Penn State to the NFL to MIT, and lessons he learned along the way.

Few people can speak to the balance of academics and athletics the way that Urschel can. A former All BIG-10 Conference offensive lineman at Penn State and offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, Urschel is arguably the most well-rounded player in NFL history.

In 2013, Urschel was the recipient of the Campbell Award, also known as the “Academic Heisman,” given to the college football player possessing the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance. He also won the Sullivan Award, given to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S, based on the qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship.

Urschel graduated from Penn State in four years with a perfect 4.0 GPA and a master’s degree in mathematics. As an undergraduate, he published papers in prestigious academic journals and taught undergraduate math classes while anchoring Penn State’s offensive line and starting every game his junior and senior years.

In 2014, the Baltimore Ravens drafted Urschel in the 5th round, and started him in several games during his rookie year. In 2016, while still playing for the Ravens, he was accepted to the doctoral program in mathematics at MIT. Urschel played three seasons for Baltimore, retiring in 2017 to focus on his graduate studies.

Urschel’s active research areas include combinatorial optimization, computational geometry, machine learning, numerical partial differential equations and spectral graph theory. He has 11 peer-reviewed publications in mathematics.

The Inspire Speaker Program is made possible by a gift from the Broe Family, and brings to Pomona College non-traditional thinkers and doers who will inspire the Pomona community to contemplate how they might achieve their dreams and “bear their added riches” in their chosen fields. 

Event Contact

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:00 pm
  • Pomona College
  • Bridges Auditorium
  • 450 N. College Way
General Public
Pomona Alumni
Pomona Faculty and Staff
Pomona Families
Pomona Students

Free and open to the public, but tickets are required.