[AWARDS] Nearly 40 years after he brought his vision of the “beautiful game” to America as a member of the New York Cosmos, Pele will be honored at an international conference espousing that same image.
Hofstra University, on whose Long Island campus the Cosmos played for two seasons prior to the arrival of Pele in 1975, announced Monday it will award him an honorary degree to honor his humanitarian work as well as contributions to world sport.
“Pelé transformed and transcended the game of soccer,” said university president Stuart Rabinowitz in a release issued by the university. “While the world first came to know him for extraordinary athletic feats, his soccer career was, in many respects, simply a prelude to an extraordinary life of service as a philanthropist and advocate. He understands the power and responsibility his soccer legacy carries, and has used it to improve the lives of others.”
Pele will be honored during a symposium titled “Soccer as the Beautiful Game: Football’s Artistry, Identity and Politics,” to be held April 10-13 at Hofstra and other locations. According to the university’s statement, more than 100 scholars, journalists, players and coaches from 25 countries will contribute to the symposium. Hofstra History professors Dr. Brenda Elsey and Dr. Stanislao Pugliese are co-directors. Pele will also be honored with a plaque in the university’s soccer stadium, one of the homes of the NASL Cosmos in the pre-Pele days and now home of the current version of the Cosmos, of which Pele is honorary president.
Pele will speak at a youth symposium and celebration banquet April 11, and attend the ceremonial unveiling of his stadium plaque April 13.
Pele, 73, retired in 1977 after his third and final season with the original Cosmos. He has extensive commercial and business interests, and has endorsed several products. He serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and UNESCO.