Peyton Manning speaks at Pitt State's H. Lee Scott Speaker Series

From Staff Reports
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) October 10, 2015.  (Photo: © Eric Lars Bakke/ Denver Broncos)

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning became the latest guest speaker at The “H. Lee Scott Speaker Series: An Examination of American Life” at Pittsburg State University on Monday, in front of a limited crowd of students, faculty and members of the public. 

Best known for his legendary 18-year football career, Manning now serves as a member of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet and The Pat Summit Foundation Advisory Board. 

For Pittsburg resident Zach Haines, the opportunity to meet Manning was too good of an opportunity to miss. 

“A big part of the conversation that resonated with me was how Manning overcame adversity throughout his early career, and used it to fuel his success," he said. "A true underdog story.”

And even when his teams became frontrunners, Manning spoke on how he would still find ways to motivate the team.

“Manning mentioned that he would put opposing teams ‘smack talk’ on the locker room bulletin board to help motivate the team for the upcoming game. But as the wins kept piling up, and opposing teams had less to smack talk to deliver, Manning had to resort to making up quotes to continue to push his team,” said Pittsburg resident Cooper Grann.

Manning also spoke about his involvement in helping children. Peyton and Ashley Manning started the PeyBack Foundation in 1999, with the goal to provide leadership and growth opportunities for disadvantaged youth, according to the foundation website,

One of the goals of the Speaker series, which was made possible thanks to a $2.079 million gift from former Walmart CEO Lee Scott and his wife, Linda, is to deliver a greater understanding of American life from the viewpoint of prominent leaders in our country.

“We hope that the exposure to these successful leaders will enhance the educational experiences for students and inspire them to someday be invited to speak about leadership on this same stage,” Lee Scott said in making the gift.

“It’s amazing to think about the caliber of individuals this series has brought to our campus, including President Bill Clinton, Republican presidential nominee Senator Mitt Romney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,” said Vice President for University Advancement Kathleen Flannery in a press release from Pittsburg State. “We're thrilled to add Peyton Manning, who is not only a legendary quarterback but an inspiring leader in philanthropy, to that list.”

Much like other guests in this speaker series, Manning's appearance was kept on the down-low, and his speech was very exclusive and not formally open to the press. 

During the Crawford County Commission meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Bruce Blair even remarked on its exclusivity. 

"I was talking to the sheriff," he said, "and he told me they were trying to keep it hush-hush." 

During his illustrious NFL career, Manning helped lead two franchises (Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos) to Super Bowl championships. 

Manning captured 14 Pro Bowl selections and was named the Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player five times, the most in NFL history. This year, Manning was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame.