Bert Jacobs ’87 of Life is Good to Deliver Villanova’s Commencement Address

Erin Gormley Co News Editors

Two brothers. One van. $78 dollars in their pockets.

Bert and John Jacobs launched Life is Good in 1994 to spread a message, launch a mission and discover how those three words could help others focus on the good in life.

Saint Augustine once said, “Love, and do what you like.” He preached a message of truth, unity and love, and it is upon these values that Life is Good’s motto, “Do what you like. Like what you do,” truly resonates with the mission set forth by Augustine.

Bert Jacobs ’87 CLAS, co-founder and CEO (Chief Executive Optimist) of Life is Good, is set to address the graduating Class of 2019 as the commencement speaker.

Jacobs earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree from the University and has been awarded honorary doctorates from several other colleges and universities for entrepreneurship, business innovation and philanthropy. He will be warmly welcomed back to the University this May.

Jacobs’ address coincides with the 25th anniversary of Life is Good. In honor of this commemoration, Bert and his brother John are igniting a movement that focuses on all that is good in life. Everytime #SomethingGood is shared on any social media platform between now and September, Life is Good will donate $1 to help kids in need. Their goal is to inspire 1 million people to focus on the good in life and donate $1 million.

Philanthropic efforts are not new to Life is Good. The Life is Good Kids Foundation aims to build a world that is good for all children. It partners with leading childcare organizations to positively impact the quality of care and education given to vulnerable children in the most vulnerable communities.

Early in life, Bert and John Jacobs were inspired by the stories of people and children facing adversity. Their foundation, along with a fully integrated business model, is dedicated to helping children in need. Life is Good donates 10 percent of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Foundation, which impacts more than one million children each year who face poverty, violence and disease.

The Life is Good brand spreads the powers of optimism and positivity through art, clothing, a passionate community and nonprofit work. Jacobs is both honored and excited to speak to the graduating students.

Along with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, that will be awarded to Jacobs, the University will be awarding an honorary degree to Sister Cora Marie Billings, RSM. Billings graduated from the University in 1967 and is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the America. Known as an advocate for social justice, service and equality, she has served for over 60 years.

Sister Cora Marie became the first African-American woman to enter a religious community in Philadelphia, when she joined the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia in 1956.

She also became the first African-American sister to work as a campus minister at Virginia State University and became the first African-American sister nationwide to serve as a pastoral coordinator for a parish. Her numerous achievements and passionate work with service have ignited her continuous advocacy. Today she holds workshops and leads discussions on racism for congregations and studies across the nation.

The University’s 176th commencement will be held on Friday, May 17 at 4:30 at the Villanova Stadium. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Finneran Pavilion.