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Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Otto at Hartnell for Blue September Celebration

September 24th, 2010

Legendary Oakland Raiders center, Jim Otto, will be at Hartnell College on Wednesday, September 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., to bring light to the importance of prostate cancer awareness and prevention.

Otto will speak to students and the public about Blue September, and what it means to “face up to prostate cancer.” His speech will begin at 11:30 in the college quadrangle, and will be followed by a question and answer session with the media.

Otto’s 15-year professional football career was nothing short of inspirational. When he emerged from college, he was considered by some to be too small for the offensive line. He was selected by the upstart Oakland Raiders in 1960 where he was a teammate of Hartnell’s Tony Teresa. Otto went on to shine as the anchor of the offensive line, and was selected as the all-league center for the American Football League in every year of the league’s 10-year existence. He also was named the starting center on the AFL All-Time team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, the first year he was eligible. His accomplishments were even more remarkable considering that he had to play through injuries and surgeries throughout the 308 games of his career, including starting in all 210 regular season games in that 15-year span.

One of his greatest challenges, though, came when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002. He has since turned to spreading the word about the disease as a celebrity spokesperson for Blue September, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of prostate cancer and the importance of screening. The Oakland Raiders dedicated their season opener against the Rams to the organization.

This event, organized and sponsored by the Associated Students of Hartnell College, is free and open to the public. Free parking is available the entire day at the college parking structure at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas.

Students will turn the college blue for this very important event: Blue face-painting will be done for donations, Blue September buttons will be sold, the student government will operate a dunk tank for the charity, and Otto will autograph two footballs for raffle.

For more information about the event, please contact Mercedes Quintero, 831-755-6825, or mquinter@hartnell.edu.