Future UT graduates honored at 'Senior Luncheon'
Feb. 20, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- This past December, Bailey Webster experienced the double crescendo to her career as a student-athlete at The University of Texas.
Just days after walking across a commencement stage to receive her diploma, she and the Texas Volleyball team lit the Tower orange with a victory over Oregon in the NCAA championship match.
"But the ultimate goal is really just to receive your degree from The University of Texas," said Webster, a corporate communications major who graduated with a 3.4 GPA.
On Wednesday, in a luncheon on the north side of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, UT Athletics took a moment to acknowledge the hard work required to achieve the "ultimate goal" of which Webster speaks.
The Student-Athlete Services staff organized the 'Senior Lunch' gathering for more than 100 student-athletes who either earned their diplomas in December 2012 or are on track to graduate in Spring or Summer 2013.
"Graduating from The University of Texas is a significant accomplishment," said Dr. Randa Ryan, a executive senior associate athletics director for student services. "It's only appropriate to take a moment to acknowledge this achievement."
Graduation is the apex of the academic commitment required of a UT student-athlete. At a rigorous academic institution, UT student-athletes prove to be competitive in the classroom as well.
In Fall 2012, 14 of UT's sports programs achieved a collective 3.0 GPA or better, and 266 student-athletes were named to the Fall 2012 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Currently, 56 percent of UT student-athletes hold a cumulative 3.0 GPA or better.
"It's important to appreciate their successes as students and as athletes," said Brian Davis, associate athletics director for football student services. "
Nate Boyer, the defensive back who previously served as a member of the Green Berets Special Forces unit, was one of three featured senior speakers.
"We are so lucky to have all of this," said Boyer, referring to UT's vast support staff. "And when you have all these resources, it's really hard to fail. In fact, you have to work to fail."
Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds encouraged the student-athletes to take the unique life lessons of athletics into their professional adulthoods.
"When you get knocked down, you pick yourself up, keep smiling and keep going," Dodds said. "Athletics taught you that.