PROVIDENCE (CBS) — Former Red Sox player David Ortiz received his first honorary degree on Sunday. Ortiz gave a commencement address to the graduates of the New England Institute of Technology and received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The Boston icon was praised for his contribution to the Red Sox, his leadership, and “his work to help others – especially his efforts help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who face significant health challenges” by the school.

“Your dugout dialogue inspired and motivated teammates, your defiant messages to fans following the devastation of the Boston Marathon bombings helped a city heal and become Boston Strong,” Ortiz’s introduction said.

During his address, Ortiz told graduates that they deserved to be there and no one could take that away.

“Life is not based on how many times you fail. Life is not based on the people who tell you, you can’t. Life is based on what you feel you are capable of doing,” he said.

School officials say 1,162 students received associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This was also Ortiz’s first commencement address.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports 

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