Retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme stressed the importance of knowledge and education to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s fall graduates on Friday morning.

“No matter what endeavor you may pursue, remember you’re never too knowledgeable or intelligent to continue your learning,” Delhomme said. “Knowledge is power. Always remember that. The more you learn, the more comfortable and at ease you’re going to be in any given situation.

Delhomme served as keynote speaker for fall commencement at the Cajundome, where more than 1,300 students were awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Delhomme shared wisdom and anecdotes he learned during his sports career. He told graduates that basketball great Michael Jordan had a 50 percent success rate when making shots on which playoff games depended.

Failure, he said, was a choice that people make when they stop trying.

“Though the future looks uncertain, it’s the path you take to get there that’s important,” he said.

Delhomme played football for the then University of Southwestern Louisiana as a quarterback from 1993-1997 and returned to UL-Lafayette in 2001 to earn his bachelor’s degree. While at USL, he was a two-time Big West Conference Champion, and he finished his college football career as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.

After college ball, Delhomme played overseas for two NFL Europe teams before returning to the states as a New Orleans Saint in 1999. In 2003, he joined the Carolina Panthers and led them to the Super Bowl the same year.

Six UL-Lafayette students graduated this semester with 4.0 grade-point averages, and 20 students earned their doctoral degrees.

“Through your education and learning, you can overcome all doubts and fears,” Delhomme said.

Since his retirement, Delhomme has been raising and training thoroughbred race horses. He resides in Breaux Bridge.