By Mike Cugno

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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Alex Rodriguez’s advice boiled down to a few things; have a plan and don’t be afraid of failure.

Rodriguez had a roller coaster Major League Baseball career and certainly had his run-ins with the media, but Thursday was another step forward in repairing his image and giving to a university he nearly attended.

Today on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, scores of college kids made that final walk on the road to graduation.

Greeting them at the podium was the retired baseball star who nearly attended the school but opted for an early start to his pro career.

“Truth is you have something that I don’t,” Rodriguez told the graduates. “You have the experience of going to college as a young adult and a degree from a premier institution. One that I dreamed about going to my entire life.”

While Rodriguez is known for being a dangerous hitter, 4th all-time in homeruns with 696, but there’s one stat he especially proud of and that’s being 5th all-time in strike outs.

“That means I have a PHD in failing,” he said. “But I also have a Masters in getting back up. It was my mom who convinced me to stick to it. So all of you out there listen to your mother. They’re always right.”

Thursday’s graduation was extra special with an A-Rod scholarship recipient in the building receiving his degree.

Rodriguez, a lifelong UM fan, had one final message for the seniors who were eager to start their professional lives.

“You don’t have to be remembered by those mistakes,” Rodriguez said. “How you come back matters too. Now is the best time to be an entrepreneur, an athlete, an artist. As a young person entering the workforce do not think in a limited way. Think in big possibilities. And no pun intended, swing for the fences. Go Canes.”

Rodriguez added that a fool with a plan will always beat a genius without one, every time.

And for him, that was starting A-Rod Corp while he was still in the majors, to create a second career outside of baseball.

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