Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, the subject of a federal criminal investigation, was named Thursday as High Point University's commencement speaker in 2011.
Armstrong, who turns 39 next month, will speak next May 7 to new graduates at the 3,300-student school in the southeast United States.
He has faced renewed allegations of doping since former teammate Floyd Landis admitted he was a dope cheat and said he saw Armstrong take performance-enhancing drugs numerous times.
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France from 1999 through 2005, has steadfastly denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong sponsors have said they have cooperated with US agents looking into details about the cycling legend, whose comeback from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain inspired interest in him as a speaker.
"Each year, we aim to set positive examples to our graduating seniors who are just beginning to step out into the real world and begin their careers," university president Nido Qubein said.
"Lance Armstrong is a shining example of hard work and dedication and what it really means to work toward a goal. He is a champion who stays at the top of his game through his positive outlook and determination to make a difference.
"His message will surely inspire our 2011 graduates to go out and succeed."
Prior High Point commencement speakers include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2005, Queen Noor of Jordan in 2006, comedian Bill Cosby in 2007, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2008, astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 2009 and Coca-Cola Company chief executive Muhtar Kent last year.
© AFP 2010