NFL Hall of Famer and Eisenhower High Class of ‘77 graduate Ronnie Lott returned to his alma mater Thursday, May 10 to celebrate the grand opening of the new stadium named in his honor. Eagle pride soared as over 2,000 students, 80 alumni from the Class of “77, and over 25 dignitaries welcomed Lott who was accompanied by his wife, Karen, parents Roy and Mary Lott, and siblings Roy and Suzy.
“When I was playing up north (for the San Francisco 49ers) I had you in mind,” Lott addressed the excited students after they sang “Happy Birthday” (Lott’s birthday was May 8). “I made sure I played for you and did it the right way.”
Lott shared stories of his early years at Eisenhower, the lessons he’s learned, and announced the Ronnie and Karen Lott Scholarship that will award $1,000 to the school’s top athlete “every year from 2018 for as long as I’m alive.”
“One of you will be standing up here one day,” Lott declared. “One of you will have that responsibility to give back, and one of you will change the world. If you believe it, you can achieve it.”
Subsequent to the dedication ceremony lunch was served, followed by a presentation of local dignitaries, a video montage of Lott’s career, concluding with a meet and greet with the Lott family.
“[Lott’s visit] is an infusion of inspiration of morale and spirit to know that someone like Lott came from this community,” said RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila. “It gives students the evidence that they can reach their full potential and realize their dreams.”
Councilman Rafael Trujillo echoed similar sentiments, “Mr. Lott is a role model for our youth and it gives us a sense of pride to see our residents achieve and come back to their community.”
The Ronnie Lott Stadium was a labor of love for many stakeholders committed to investing in the future of students.
“The legendary Mr. Ronnie Lott and his supportive wife graciously and excitedly came back with the Lott family for a memorable namesake stadium for our deserving students,” said RUSD spokeswoman Syeda Jafri. “The vision of the Board of Education and the hard-working Measure Y Committee, years ago, voted and executed a caring campaign to invest in the future of all students in the District, including our flagship, Eisenhower High School. What we witnessed on May 10 was the fruits of their labor. Thank you to the voters, Ike staff and district officials who all worked together. Mr. Lott and his guests were mesmerized when they saw the majestic stadium, and all who showed up on a sunny day at the ribbon cutting. Nothing left to say but ‘Go Eagles!'”
Lott and Karen live in Northern California with their four children.