Saint Mary’s welcomes Matt Birk Oct. 24th

Posted By: mgerlach On: 2023-10-10
Posted On: 2023-10-10

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, Saint Mary’s will welcome former Minnesota Viking, Super Bowl Champion, Speaker, and Author, Mr. Matt Birk for the next installment in the Cardinal Virtue Lecture Series. Mr. Birk’s keynote lecture is entitled, “Life as Sport: Winning, Learning, and Defining Personal Success.” The Cardinal Virtue lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Page Theater, Winona Campus, and is open to the entire Saint Mary’s community as well as the wider Winona-Rochester community.

Mr. Birk’s keynote lecture will be one of four separate engagements on campus this day. Earlier in the day Birk will be the featured guest at an SMU Coaching for Character Roundtable Discussion where coaches will discuss how they coach student athletes not only to win and perform well on the field or court but also to develop themselves as persons of virtue, living generous ethical lives of service and leadership.

Spending time with student athletes prior to the keynote lecture, Birk will lead an informal dinner conversation with athletes representing the various SMU sports on the topic of “Serving and Leading with Character on Campus and in Your Community.”

To conclude the visit, Campus Ministry is sponsoring a Theology on Tap event with Mr. Birk at 8:45pm in the Cardinal Club, where he will share more of his own faith journey, including experiences both on and off the football field. Students 21+ receive two free beers or seltzers, and pop and water will be provided for underage students.

Matt Birk’s visit is sponsored by the Office for Character, Virtue & Ethics, the SMU Athletics Department, and Campus Ministry, as well as other departments and student organizations.


Matt Birk, a ten-year Minnesota Viking, is a Super Bowl champion and 15-year veteran of the National Football League. Matt will share his wisdom on the importance of character and virtues in living life with purpose and becoming the person you want to be. A six-time NFL Pro Bowl Selection and two-time All Pro, Matt proved to be an undisputed leader on the field and was named the sixth smartest athlete by Sporting News.  A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics, Matt was the recipient of the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for his excellence both on and off the field, including his commitment to emphasizing the importance of education through his H.I.K.E. Foundation. Established in 2002, H.I.K.E. stands for hope, inspiration, knowledge, and education, and impacts the lives of at-risk children by providing interactive programs and resources needed to guide a child though key educational transitions. Matt serves the larger community in many other ways, including starting a new high school in an under-served area and coaching youth football.