Future UT graduates honored at 'Senior Lunch'
Feb. 18, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas -- UT Athletics recently took time to honor graduating student-athletes at the annual Senior Lunch. Academic Services organized the gathering for student-athletes who will graduate in Spring, Summer or Fall 2011.
"Our student-athletes have such busy schedules that it is often challenging to get them to stop and celebrate their accomplishments along the way," said Dr. Randa Ryan, senior associate UT Athletics Director for Student Services. "Graduating from The University of Texas is a significant benchmark in their lives, and taking a moment to acknowledge the achievement of this goal is so important."
This event started three years ago as a small luncheon with a few students and staff members discussing the importance of graduation and reflecting on the journey toward a baccalaureate degree. Over these years, however, it has grown, and Ryan calls it one of the "highlights of the spring semester."
Coaches, faculty and other UT Athletics staff members were in attendance to praise the future graduates' work. Athletics directors DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky also attended and spoke to the gathered crowd.
"You've all handled yourselves with class, and always remember that you are products of a great university," Dodds said.
Echoed Plonsky: "We want to thank you for all the joy you've given us. Regardless of where you are, we'll always be here for you."
Baseball had the most graduates with 10, and that includes former student-athletes J Brent Cox and Curtis Thigpen who returned after professional play to complete their degrees.
Football's Fozzy Whittaker said it was important to thank all the mentors who guided the student-athletes academically throughout their time on the Forty Acres.
Brian Davis, Associate Athletics Director for Football Student Services, said the occasion reminds everyone that four to five years -- the time of most undergraduate careers -- go by very quickly.
"It's important to appreciate their success as students and athletes, and congratulate them on their focus to graduate," Davis said.
Each graduate was presented with a special take-home gift -- a Texas Longhorns business card holder.
"Many of you are going to be working for a living very soon," said Dr. David Fowler, chair of the men's athletics council. "But never stop learning. Nothing would please us all more than you all becoming true successes in life."