Longhorns take the stage at 2008 spring graduation
As another school year at The University of Texas comes to a close, the tower was lit brightly and surrounded by fireworks Saturday with the graduation of the 2008 senior class.
Once again, there is no shortage of members of the Texas football team celebrating the completion of their degrees. Fourteen in total are receiving their diplomas following the spring semester, joining the 15 others who did so in December.
The spring group is made up of Coy Aune, Rashad Bobino, Todd Bondy, Michael Flath, Stephen Lane, Mark and Matt McCoy, Chris Ogbonnaya, Jaicus Solis, Michael Taylor, Freddy Torres and Clayton Tefteller, along with former Longhorns Rod Babers and Dakarai Pearson.
Bobino is one of those in the increasing number who will have their degree in hand prior to starting their senior season of eligibility with his being in corporate communications.
"It means a whole lot to me and my family to actually receive my degree and still have another year of eligibility to play," Bobino said. "It also gives me a chance to go to grad school, and it really didn't hit me until today that I'm about to walk. I'll be the first one in my family to graduate from a four-year university. I'm also the first one to come here and play ball. There are a lot of firsts, so it's a really big thing for them and a really big thing for me."
Like many others, Bobino plans to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, but after that, his interest has been peaked by a career in advertising and public relations.
"It's very comforting, because I've always been told to have a plan B," Bobino said. "If football doesn't work out, make sure you get something concrete that you can have. My degree is something no one can take away from me. Being able just to have a chance to go to the NFL is great, but if I don't stop there, my degree can open many more doors for me."
Ogbonnaya is in the same position as Bobino, having completed his degree in history before his senior season, however he will now build on that and with a double major in corporate communications that he will finish by December.
"This to me is a major accomplishment to be able to graduate in three and a half years," Ogbonnaya said. "It makes me happy, and it's a joy for me to have my family have the ability to come, minus my sister and my other brother, but to have the rest be able to watch me graduate is special. The feeling I'll have walking across that stage is just a relaxed feeling and a satisfying feeling knowing that the hard work paid off."
Law school, broadcasting and media or public relations are all future possibilities for Ogbonnaya, but for the moment, he is grateful to have his father, Kalu, his sister, Valerie, and his brother, Moses, with him, as all three had to travel to be in attendance.
"Moses is a business school major at Southern California, my sister lives in New York City and my dad came from Houston, so they had to come a little way see me graduate, and it's something I appreciate," Ogbonnaya said.
What Bobino and Ogbonnaya also share is the pride and anticipation of receiving their T-Rings for football lettermen who have graduated.
"It's going to make me feel really good," Bobino smiled. "I know having a T-Ring is a very big deal here. Getting one and still being able to play is something I can enjoy right now. It's something I can tell my kids and my kids' kids that I did to inspire them to achieve in their own situations."
"I just remember being recruited here and coach Brown was telling us about this T-Ring, and how it was a major accomplishment if you got one," Ogbonnaya followed. "Coming here, to be able to see Dallas Griffin and Steve Hogan and some of my close friends achieve that ring, it means a lot. I'll be happy to see one when I get it."