Students Graduating from LSU Friday morning were treated to a commencement speech by Alumnus U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise. Scalise spoke for about 45 minutes in front of 4000 graduating students.

He spoke extensively about his journey following a nearly fatal shooting on a baseball diamond in Washington D.C. and the support he received from the University during his recovery.

“I had Coach Orgeron call me in the hospital, I translated to the nurse that he wished me well, he invited me to his office to cook some gumbo for me and he said ‘Go Tigers.’ So that was really neat.”

Scalise’s speech was full of funny stories as he described getting phone calls from leaders all over the world. He says he was truly humbled by the attention which inspired him.

“Ultimately, you are not going to be defined by the times you are knocked down, but you are going to be defined by how you get back up.”

He says he will forever be indebted to those who helped him during his rehabilitation.

“Once I became fully aware of how bad the damage was, I had a choice: am I going to be a victim or was I going to focus on the great things that were happening and the people who were coming towards me to help me in my recovery.”

Scalise is also scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the LSU law school graduation in June.