The Honorable Alan Page
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice
November 15, 2001, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

audio icon Listen to the event

Alan Page

Photo: Minnesota Supreme Court

Alan Page -- the former pro football great turned Minnesota Supreme Court justice -- has made a career of encouraging minority students to go to college.

The state Supreme Court, where Page has served since 1993, sometimes convenes in local schools to hold hearings and then answer student questions in an effort to demystify the judicial process.

He’s the founder of the Page Education Foundation, which has provided mentoring and almost 3,000 scholarships to encourage Minnesota students to continue their studies after high school. Page also helped establish the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education.

Page won lasting acclaim on the gridiron playing with the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears from 1967-1981. In 1971, he became the first defensive player in NFL history to receive the league's Most Valuable Player award.

But Page recognized that most sports careers are so short-lived that players need to plan ahead for the rest of their lives. Juggling law school and a pro football career, he earned a degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. He worked in a private law practice, and also did a stint as a commentator for National Public Radio. By 1987, he had worked his way up to the post of Minnesota’s assistant attorney general, where he stayed until his nomination to the state’s highest court.

In 1988, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At that ceremony, Page focused as much on education as sports. “At the very best, athletic achievement might open a door that discrimination once held shut. But the doors slam quickly on the unprepared and the under-educated,” Page said. “Instead of making a real investment in education that could pay itself back many times, our society has chosen to pay the price three times: once, when we let the kids through the educational system; twice, when they drop out to a street life of poverty, dependence and maybe even crime; and a third time when we warehouse those who have crossed over the line and gotten caught. The cost of this neglect is immense, in dollars and in abuse of the human spirit. We must educate our children.”

Page, who was born on August 7, 1945, also holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and several honorary law degrees. He and his wife have four children.

Related Links:
The Page Education Foundation Web site