FAMU Graduates 18 Student-Athletes in Fall Graduation
Over 700 new graduates walked across the stage tonight at FAMU's Fall commencement ceremony. Among the graduates were 18 student-athletes, who remembered to keep the focus on their trek to FAMU by getting their diplomas. While issues around the university continue to make national headlines, the real story is that underneath all its challenges, Florida A&M University and its ultimate mission of educating students is alive and well. The 9,000 seat facility was filled to capacity as family and friends came to celebrate the graduation of their loved ones at the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.
Commencement speaker H.T. Smith, Esq., was a FAMU graduate himself, before leaving to impact the world. He currently serves as the Director of Trial Advocacy Programs as the Florida International University College of Law. He challenged the graduates to excel in life and make everyone who helped them get to that point proud.
Among the class of graduates were some of the most accomplished athletes in FAMU history. Volleyball star Karol Marquez, an All-MEAC athlete graduated with a B.S. in Public Relations. She made the 2011 All-MEAC first team, filling in nicely for Susan Egoavil, who was herself an All-MEAC athlete and FAMU's all-time digs leader.
Another Lady Rattler great who capped off her career with a B.S. in Criminal Justice was Jacksonville native Qiana Donald. Donald was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year last season and made first team All-MEAC. The lengthy and elegant Donald strode across the stage in her cheeky grin to a loud applause from the audience. Several of whom had probably seen her play in the same facility where she was graduating.
Among the FAMU football players who graduated were Trevor Scott and Jerral Stewart. Scott, one of the most accomplished kickers to play at FAMU, acquired his B.S. in Public Relations degree, while Stewart earned a B.S. in Business Administration. In all eight football players walked the stage on Saturday, including a very special graduation. Former FAMU player Carlos Rolle, who played for Rubin Carter, and initially graduated in 2007, returned to get his M.S. in Sports Management. Rolle, thankful for the moment, paused and did a Tim Tebow-style prayer mid stage.
FAMU Board of Trustees chairman Solomon Badger welcomed the class and commended them on staying focused until completion. "This evening is a moment in time that will be remembered throughout your life. With this historic occasion serving as the only event in the lives of every graduate and the family members, friends and supporters who helped make this moment a reality," he said.
FAMU Intermin President Dr. Larry Robinson closed the commencement ceremony with the Rattler charge and the FAMU alma mater. Immediately following the alma mater and the processional, thousands gathered in front of the Lawson Center for what has become a new tradition within itself. Greek organization, university clubs and organizations and families get together to congregate and celebrate. Fraternities and sororities sing, chant and step to celebrate the accomplishments of their members, while family members gather to take photos. Making possibly the biggest impact as of late is a performance by members of the African Caribbean Dance Theater, who performs to authentic African drums right in front of the facility. It underscores the joy by all, that a new class of graduates has made it through.
The complete listing of student-athlete graduates by sport:
Football (8): Alphonso Walker (B.S. Landscape Design Mgt.), Alexander Ajayi (B.S. Criminal Justice), Demarius Folsom (B.S. Criminal Justice), Nicholas Hollinghead (B.S. Criminal Justice), Fabian Wilson (B.S. Criminal Justice), Jerral Stewart (B.S. Business Administration), Trevor Scott (B.S. Public Relations), Carlos Rolle (M.S. Sports Management).
Women's Track (3): Nichola Listhrop (B.S. Health Science), Raven Robinson (B.S. Elementary Education), Jasmine Pleasant (B.S. Business Administration).
Volleyball (2): Karol Marquez (B.S. Public Relations), Chelsea Pennick (B.S. Health Information and information Management).
Men's Basketball (1): Jeffrey Kennings Jr. (B.S. Information Technology)
Women's Basketball (1): Qiana Donald (B.S. Criminal Justice)
Men's Tennis (1): Marc Atkinson (B.S. Sociology).
Softball (1): Tenisha Dixon (B.S. Journalism).
Baseball (1): Miguel Parga (B.S. Criminal Justice)
For the complete story, visit www.famuathletics.com