OXFORD, Miss. – Saturday was a special day in the lives of many Ole Miss student-athletes, as they participated in graduation ceremonies. While wowing Rebel fans on the fields and courts, many of the graduates achieved a high level of success in the classroom.
Student-athletes gathered in the morning for a special breakfast at the FedEx Academic Student Success Center with their families, coaches and athletics staff, before heading to The Grove for the morning ceremony followed by the individual school ceremonies. Athletics Director Ross Bjork congratulated the student-athletes on their accomplishment and told them they were always welcome back at Ole Miss.
Four members of the Music City Bowl champion football team earned their master’s degrees on Saturday. Seniors Andrew Ritter, Tyler Campbell and Chris Conley completed their MBA, while Deterrian Shackelford, who will return for a sixth year in 2014, received his master’s in higher education. Senior linebacker Mike Marry also received his degree.
Prior to taking the field for the second game of the series against Georgia, four members of the No. 11 ranked diamond Rebels graduated, including catcher Will Allen, infielder John Gatlin and left-handed pitchers Jeremy Massie and Austin Blunt.
Soccer boasted six graduates, including All-American and 2013 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Rafaelle Souza, and All-SEC first team honoree Mandy McCalla.
Four members of the Rifle team graduated, including Abbey Stanec, who was named a Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities. Softball also had five players graduate, including recent All-SEC second team honoree RT Cantillo.
Two-time All-SEC honoree Valencia McFarland, Diara Moore and Kenyotta Jenkins of women’s basketball, earned their degrees. McFarland had been in Seattle, Washington, after signing a training-day contract with the two-time WNBA Champion Seattle Storm.
Women’s golf had three graduates with current senior Kathryn Fowler and former letterwinners Ericka Schneider and Haley Sanders, who completed their eligibility last year. Volleyball seniors Kara Morgan and Kellie Goss earned their degree. They helped the Rebels receive the prestigious APR Public Recognition Award recently.
Thirteen members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams graduated, including Taylor Medalist Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen and record-setting high jumper Ricky Robertson. The Rebels head to Lexington, Ky., next weekend for the SEC Championships.
A special ceremony for those student-athletes who were out of town competing for the Rebels during Saturday’s commencement will be held Monday, May 12 at 4 p.m. at the FedEx Academic Success Center. Taylor Medalist Caroline Rohde-Moe of women’s tennis will be part of Monday’s ceremony, as the Rebels are currently in Los Angeles, California competing in the NCAA Championships. The honors graduate helped lead the Rebels to a 4-3 win over Texas Tech in the first round.
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