May 21, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- The settings won't be unfamiliar to these Texas student-athletes. For several years now, they have competed at places like the Frank Erwin Center and Gregory Gym.
But when they return to those stages this weekend, they won't be performing, but receiving. They'll be celebrated as graduates of The University of Texas.
Thirty-two student-athletes are scheduled to participate in the Spring Commencement ceremonies at The University this Friday and Saturday, and more than 55 will receive their degrees this Spring and Fall.
They've competed in everything from Football to Rowing, and tout majors ranging from Finance to Geography to Humanities Honors.
"This is always a time for celebration around here," UT Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds said. "At the beginning of each year, we see a new group of young student-athletes enter The University of Texas with the goal of succeeding in the classroom and on the field. Now we see another group of young adults, who have successfully balanced heavy schedules and responsibilities, leave this place with diploma in hand -- ready to tackle life after college.
"This is a proud day for them, their families and us."
Remarkably, almost three-quarters of the graduating student-athletes completed their degrees in four years while also competing at the highest level.
"The student-athletes are about to be able to say some of the most important words in the English language, `I am a Texas Ex,'" Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky said. "The power and impact of that statement, and what it represents, will pay dividends for them immediately. This is a day with no running clocks or scoreboard, but one prize."
In addition, the dedicated determination of UT student-athletes is also shown once again this Spring. Several, who have advanced to professional athletic careers, are returning to the Forty Acres to receive their diplomas, while there are others who have completed their degree requirements with athletic eligibility still remaining.
"We are pleased with the culture we have established," said Brian Davis, Associate Athletics Director for Student Services. "The guys are understanding the importance, and putting in the time, to get their degrees in four years -- or less. And some show the commitment necessary to come back, after a few years playing professionally, and finish what they started. There is dedication on both ends. They come back to us, and we stay committed to them the whole way."
Said Dr. Randa Ryan, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student Services: "These graduates have shown such courage as they have strived to do their best in the classrooms and on the playing fields for Texas. They have represented The University of Texas well, and we are so proud of their efforts and their accomplishments."
SPRING 2009 GRADUATES
Alexandria Anderson, Women's Track and Field: Corporate Communication
Nancy Arrington, Rowing: Government
Greta Carter, Soccer: ALD-Early Child Development through Grade 4
Kwame Cavil, Football: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Hee-Jin Chang, Women's Swimming and Diving: Government
Preston Clark, Baseball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Quan Cosby, Football: Social Work
Bernhard Deussner, Men's Tennis: International Business
Erica Doody, Women's Golf: Advertising
Ruth Ann Feist, Volleyball: ALD-Early Child Development through Grade 4
Levi Gage, Football: Geography
Kacie Gaskin, Softball: Psychology
Larkin Geyer, Women's Track and Field: Public Relations
Dallas Griffin, Football: McCombs School of Business, MBA
Chris Hall, Football: Communication Studies
Will Harvey, Football: Finance
Kelly Heinbaugh, Women's Track and Field: Kinesiology
Jacob Hernandez, Men's Track and Field: Corporate Communication
Caney Hines, Women's Golf: Corporate Communication
Robby Hudson, Baseball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Jonah Kane-West, Men's Tennis: International Business
Kathryn Kelly, Women's Swimming and Diving: Public Relations
Laura Koenig, Women's Track and Field: Kinesiology
Joseph Krebs, Baseball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Aaron Lewis, Football: Corporate Communication
Jessica Livingston, Women's Swimming and Diving: Advertising
Stephanie Logterman, Soccer: Humanities Honors
Kelley Louth, Women's Golf: Corporate Communication
Matt Lowe, Men's Swimming and Diving: Kinesiology
Drew Marcantonio, Football: Geography
Caleb McDermott, Men's Swimming and Diving: Kinesiology
Meredith McMahan, Women's Golf: Journalism
Mac McWhorter, Football: Sports Management
Elizabeth Meserve, Rowing: Geography
Marija Milic, Women's Tennis: Anthropology
Kyle Miller, Men's Track and Field: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Shon Mitchell, Football: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Jace Moore, Men's Golf: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
MicKayla Padilla, Softball: Kinesiology
Dianna Pfenninger, Soccer: Public Relations
Ryan Russ, Baseball: ALD-Youth & Community Studies
Will Schroeder, Men's Track and Field: Computer Science
Christopher Seitz, Men's Swimming and Diving: Advertising
Keith Shinaberry , Baseball: Corporate Communication
Charlie Tanner, Football: Corporate Communications
Austin Traweek, Men's Golf: Finance
Marcus Tubbs, Football: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Kristin Walla, Women's Golf: Journalism
Andrew Webb, Men's Track and Field: Advertising
Chris Wieland, Football: Finance
Desiree Williams, Softball: Corporate Communication
Earnesia Williams, Women's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Courtney Zauft, Women's Tennis: ALD-Early Child through Grade 4
SUMMER 2009 GRADUATES*
A.J. Abrams, Men's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Erika Arriaran, Women's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Randy Boone, Baseball: Corporate Communication
Aubry Cook, Women's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Carla Cortijo, Women's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Luise Fleischhauer, Rowing: Health Promotion and Fitness
Ashley Foster, Soccer: Ethnic Studies
Todd Gilfillan, Baseball: Corporate Communication
Kiley Hall, Volleyball: Health Promotion and Fitness
Ashley Lindsey, Women's Basketball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Kelly Melone, Softball: Health Promotion and Fitness
Jake Morse, Men's Track & Field: Radio-Television-Film
Crystal Saenz, Softball: Corporate Communication
Alexi Spann, Women's Swimming: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
Travis Tucker, Baseball: ALD-Youth and Community Studies
*Those projected to graduate in the summer are eligible to walk in the main spring commencement exercises