Bruce Jenner Wears Ponytail, Gives Motivational Speech to College Students: Picture and Details

Celebrity News Feb. 13, 2014 AT 8:00PM
jenner mercyhurst speech Bruce Jenner after speaking at Mercyhurst University on Wednesday, Feb 12 poses with students Christopher Gaertner and Earl Kunsman. Credit: Courtesy of Chris Gaertner

Ponytail pep talk! Bruce Jenner gave a motivational speech to the students of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 -- his first scheduled appearance since he recently underwent a procedure to flatten his Adam's apple.

According to multiple eyewitnesses, the crowd loved the reality star. "They were chanting 'Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!' the whole night," one spectator tells Us Weekly.

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Sporting a ponytail and black shirt beneath a gray pinstripe suit, Jenner spoke to the crowd about his glory days as an Olympian: "All the students were raving about how great the speech was," Mercyhurst undergrad Christopher Gaertner tells Us. His pal Earl Kunsman (also at Mercyhurst) adds, "Bruce's speech was motivational, entertaining and he spoke about overcoming fear and commitment."

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In one poignant part of his talk, the former Olympic superstar gave the youngsters his four famed tips on how they should lead their lives: "Gamble your best shot in life," Jenner told the crowd. "Cheat those who would hinder your success. Lie in the arms of those you love. Steal every moment of happiness."

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"The people and environment you surround yourself with is extremely important to your success," the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star continued Wednesday, though he made no mention of his famous family. Jenner, instead, focused his speech on success: "Pressure is part of the game. We have to accept it. Pressure makes me think," he told the crowd. "The higher we raise the bar in out arena, the more commitment we have to give."

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(Prior to his days as a reality TV star, Jenner rose to fame after taking home the 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal. The accomplishment also earned him the title of "World's Greatest Athlete.")

After his speech ended Wednesday, the E! star met with several students backstage. "He was very friendly and willing to take photos with his fans and sign some autographs," Gaertner tells Us.

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"The only things I noticed were his nice shoes and the ponytail," Kunsman says of Jenner's physical appearance. "I'm mad that Kendall or Kylie haven't cut that in his sleep yet!" Jenner, who's been steadily growing out his hair since separating from Kris Jenner last October, told Us at an event the following month that his ponytail was driving the family crazy. "It's absolutely wonderful," he joked.

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