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Emmitt Smith To Get Diploma From Florida

April 29, 1996

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Emmitt Smith made his mother, Mary, a promise six years ago. He keeps that promise on Saturday when he graduates from the University of Florida.

``I told her that I was coming out of school to begin my NFL career,″ Smith said. ``I also told her that I would be back in Florida every offseason until my degree was finished. I was serious about that commitment.″

Smith will earn a bachelor of science degree in public relations from the College of Health and Human Performances.

The Cowboys’ 1990 first-round pick and six-time Pro Bowl star who has three Super Bowl rings, said:

``I’ve always been a man of my word. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be back in Gainesville every offseason to finish my degree. It was important to my family and it was super important to me.

``I had people tell me things like, `You’ve got enough money for the rest of your life. Who needs school?′ I’d respond by telling them that I need school. We all do. A solid education is critical.

``Those may be just words to some people, but I believe in education and all it has to offer.″

Smith, four times the NFL’s leading rusher, left Florida after his junior season. He returned each offseason to complete his studies.

In six seasons, he has run for 8,956 yards. Last year he set the NFL single-season touchdown mark of 25.

Smith is known for his charity work, particularly with schools.

``It only takes a little time to make a significant difference in the lives of young people,″ Smith said. ``I plan to help others with my degree. If we can reach just a few kids and let them know that education is a wonderful and necessary thing in today’s workplace, then we will have been successful.″

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