Larry Fitzgerald isn't the only Valley athlete with a degree from the University of Phoenix

PHOENIX - Arizona Cardinals receiver and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald kept a promise to his late mother by completing his bachelor's degree through the University of Phoenix.

Fitzgerald, who majored in communications with a minor in marketing at UOP, said he picked up "skills I think are essential for life" in earning his degree. His graduation ceremony was Saturday.

But it turns out Fitz isn't the first star athlete in the Valley to earn his degree through UOP. D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt did the same in 2013 when he completed a bachelor's of science degree in management.

"There's a lot of hard work that goes into school, as everyone knows out there. To have that not go to waste and keep the door open for any opportunities post-playing career, that's what I want to do, and I'm sure (Fitzgerald is) thinking along the same lines," Goldschmidt told ABC15.

"The type of guy he is, it's not surprising. It's nice that he's finished up his degree while he's playing, so I'm sure he's inspiring lots of people."

Goldschmidt said his fellow UOP alum continues to be an incredible example both on and off the gridiron.

"He's a guy I look up to. Everything he's done on the field here in Phoenix, but also off -- charitable events, going and finishing his degree, just the type of person he is. He's a great role model for myself, and all the kids here in the Valley," he said.

Goldy hasn't decided what he wants to do with his degree when his MLB career comes to an end -- but he said simply having that degree gives him peace of mind.

"I'll just worry about baseball right now," he said, "but just even having it can open up a lot of opportunities when my playing career is over.

"I just didn't want to have to look back and regret not having it or not be able to pursue something I wanted to pursue."

Another notable Valley athlete (or former Valley athlete) to earn a degree from UOP? Ex-Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal, who earned a master's in business administration in 2005.

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