Texas Longhorns 2011 Graduation
May 20, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas -- The four-year college journey always seems to go by in a blink, but the impact lasts lifetimes.
As The University of Texas celebrates the 128th Spring Commencement on the Forty Acres campus this weekend, UT student-athletes are also participating in graduation exercises that are the threshold to adulthood.
"This has been a ride, these four years. I feel like I've grown up," said Volleyball's Juliann Faucette, who now counts a corporate communication degree along with three-straight trips to the NCAA Semifinals. "You come in one way, and then you leave and you really are completely changed. You have a better outlook on the world."
Dogus Balbay from Men's Basketball earned his degree in Middle Eastern Studies and reflected on the bigger picture of his overall collegiate experience. "Our University slogan is `What starts here changes the world,'" Balbay said. "To be honest, this place helped changed me in so many ways. I can't put into words the feeling of receiving my degree today."
More than 60 student-athletes will graduate this spring and summer with degrees in everything from advertising to youth and community studies. Then they will officially become members of the exclusive network of Texas Exes. But for many of them, strong UT bonds were built already.
"It's been so awesome, being part of a team. It's been amazing to have teammates to live with, travel with, and do everything together. They have been my family here," said Women's Tennis' Caroline Larsson, who is returning to her native Sweden with an economics degree.
Said Rowing's Jennifer VanderMaarel: "Being a student-athlete, you have those bonds formed and you leave here with lifelong friends. Everything about this school, I'm going to miss so much. It's been four years that I'll never forget. It's really bittersweet."
For swimmer Natalie Sacco, she came to UT ready to extend the family legacy. Her older brother, Tommy, was an All-American, while Natalie helped the Longhorns to a pair of Big 12 Championships crowns in 2009 and 2011.
"I made a huge decision to come here," Sacco said. "My brother and sister had come to school here at UT, and to have been here and completed the four years of swimming and school at Texas is just fantastic. I wouldn't want to be at any other school. Having the teammates and classmates I had here at UT made it an unbelievable experience."
Likewise, Faucette says she feels like she's leaving The University with a new extended family.
"I feel so lucky to have gone to school here and completed my degree," Faucette said. "It's surreal, because it's a hard school -- hard to get in to and hard to finish. But I think by having done so, I'll have a lot of great options for the rest of my life."
University of Texas Student-Athletes Participating in 2011 Spring Commencement
(list also includes those student-athletes who will graduate but not participate in graduation exercises and those student-athletes who are expected to graduate this summer)
Sam Acho, Football: Business-Honors
Tray Allen, Football: Physical Culture & Sports
Emily Anderson, Soccer: Accounting-Professional/Master's
Niki Arlitt, Soccer: Corporate Communication
Dogus Balbay, Men's Basketball: Middle Eastern Studies
Habben Berhane, Men's Track & Field: Finance
Kirsten Birkhold, Soccer: Advertising
Erica Campanelli, Soccer: Sport Management
Kendal Carillo, Baseball: Accounting-Professional/Master's
Kris Clack, Men's Basketball: Corporate Communication
Bryan Collins, Men's Swimming & Diving: Mathematics
J. Brent Cox, Baseball: Applied Learning & Development
Amanda Craddock, Women's Tennis: Corporate Communication
Tim Crowder, Football: Youth & Community Studies
Jena Cuellar, Women's Track & Field: Copy Editing & Design
Brandon Drenon, Men's Track & Field: Radio-Television-Film
Carlye Ellis, Women's Swimming & Diving: Corporate Communication
Maurice Evans, Men's Basketball: Youth & Community Studies
Juliann Faucette, Volleyball: Corporate Communication
Raygan Feight, Softball: Physical Culture & Sports
Mark Fisher, Football: Economics
Montrell Flowers, Football: Youth & Community Studies
Danzell Fortson, Men's Track & Field: Corporate Communication
Reggie Freeman, Men's Basketball: Youth & Community Studies
Cody Hill, Football: Political Communication
Lamarr Houston, Football: Corporate Communication
Kate Incerto, Soccer: Sport Management
Logan Gonzales, Men's Track & Field: Physical Culture & Sports
Katie Hamilton, Women's Swimming & Diving: Corporate Communication
Caroline Larsson, Women's Tennis: Economics
Tajana Lovric, Rowing: European Studies
Brad Lowry, Men's Track & Field: Petroleum Engineering
Jai Lucas, Men's Basketball: Corporate Communication
Alan Maher, Men's Swimming & Diving: Civil Engineering
Maggie Mello, Women's Tennis: Sport Management
Allison Mendez, Women's Track & Field: Human Development (Pre-Medical)
Casey Mogk, Soccer: Accounting-Professional/Master's
Matt Nader, Football: Corporate Communication
Kathleen Nash, Women's Basketball: Finance
Kate Nicholson, Soccer: English
Alisha Ortiz, Soccer: Government
John Osborn, Football: Corporate Communication
Sarah Pedersen, Rowing: History (Pre-Medical)
Brie Powers, Women's Swimming & Diving: Speech/Language Pathology
Jim Robertson, Men's Swimming & Diving: Economics & Spanish Literature
Keenan Robinson, Football: Physical Culture & Sports (Business minor)
Natalie Sacco, Women's Swimming & Diving: Sociology
Shelby Savony, Softball: Corporate Communication
Christian Scott, Football: Youth & Community Studies (African-American Studies minor)
Aaron Smith, Football: Business
Scott Spann, Men's Swimming & Diving: Physical Culture & Sports
Michael Summerville, Football: Government
Curtis Thigpen, Baseball: Health Promotion & Fitness
Andre Thomas, Men's Track & Field: Corporate Communication
Jennifer VanderMaarel, Rowing: Health Promotion
DeJuan "Chico" Vazquez, Men's Basketball: Physical Culture & Sports
Dave Walters, Men's Swimming & Diving: Economics
Andrew Wang, Men's Swimming & Diving: Electrical Engineering (Pre-Medical)
Alexis Wangmene, Men's Basketball: French
Casey Whitmer, Baseball: Applied Learning & Development
Brian Wilson, Men's Swimming & Diving: Government Honors & Economics
Adrienne Woods, Women's Swimming & Diving: Psychology
Jelena Zunic, Rowing: Psychology