2010 Spring Commencement
May 21, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- On Friday morning, as a weekend of graduation ceremonies and celebrations were just beginning at The University of Texas, a group of outgoing UT student-athletes gathered in a shaded courtyard near the center of campus with friends and family for commemorative photos.
Jordyn Brown, a thrower for Women's Track and Field, took in her surroundings and quietly reminisced.
"I don't know where the time goes," Brown said, wearing full cap and gown. "When I was a freshman, I came over here and took pictures. It feels really good to have a degree from The University of Texas. That's why I came to school here, because this is such a great institution. I'll be showing off my diploma to everyone for a long time."
More than 45 student-athletes are scheduled to participate in Spring Commencement ceremonies this weekend. In their athletic careers, they have competed in everything from football to rowing, but now they will be celebrated for earning degrees in fields ranging from Economics to Psychology.
"I love to see these students take pause for just a day and celebrate the accomplishment of something very special -- the completion of a college degree from The University of Texas," said Dr. Randa Ryan, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student Services. "Graduation ceremonies are important reflections of a job well done, and symbolic of the hope of future dreams that can be accomplished, too."
For their part, UT student-athletes move on and out into the world with a unique education that came in classrooms and the fields of competition. Almost three-quarters of the graduating student-athletes completed their degrees in four years, while also competing at the highest level.
"What has college not taught me? It's taught me everything, really -- responsibility, time management," said Mary Cait McPherson, a rowing coxswain. "I think the best thing about being a student here is that I came in here expecting my classes to be huge, and they're actually very personalized. It was comfortable."
On the volleyball court, Ashley Engle carried the Longhorns to three straight Big 12 Championship titles and was a first-team All-American. But those trophies and accolades were far from her mind on Friday afternoon, as she prepared to walk across the stage at the Frank Erwin Center and be pronounced a college graduate.
"Just being a University of Texas student is an honor," Engle said. "There's so much strong spirit and pride throughout the whole school. I've grown up. I learned a lot about myself in every aspect."
Commencement ceremonies annually provide a moment to acknowledge the dedication and determination of student-athletes. Some completed their degree requirements with eligibility still remaining. Others, who have advanced to compete professionally, returned to campus to receive their diplomas.
"That's the environment we wanted to establish. They are committed to us, and we stay committed to them the whole way," said Brian Davis, Associate Athletics Director for Student Services over Football. "Everyone understands the importance of putting in the time and work and earning their degrees."
University of Texas student-athletes participating in 2010 Commencement