From Hornet Football to Entrepreneur
Lonnie Paxton, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, was a senior majoring in Communication Studies at Sacramento State when his football career took off.
In spring 2000, Paxton was invited to player tryouts for the National Football League, an opportunity he couldn’t miss. He knew he was ready to turn pro. With only a few credits left to graduate, Paxton put his studies on hold and tucked away his dream of a college degree.
Paxton enjoyed a successful 12-year career in the NFL as a member of the Patriots and the Denver Broncos. With spot-on consistency, Paxton snapped on nine of Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goals during four seasons, including a 48-yard game-winning snap at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI.
After the NFL, Paxton forged a new career as a global entertainment marketer for GoPro, Inc. before starting his own business, Dotted Line Ventures, LLC. A longtime supporter of Sacramento State Athletics, Paxton returned to campus in 2019 for Global Entrepreneurship Week. He shared his story as an athlete turned entrepreneur and a desire that never left him to finish his degree.
Paxton learned about innovative degree completion programs at the College of Continuing Education and ProjectAttain!, an initiative aimed at working-age adults who want to finish their education. In the Sacramento region, an estimated 400,000 adults have some college but no degree, and more than 60,000 have a semester or less in completing their degree.
For many, a degree is transformational, and Paxton says his degree will be a personal victory of achievement and purpose. And he wants to set an example for his four children, all under the age of 10, by becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree.