73 GW Senior Student-Athletes Participate in Commencement
Student-Athletes Join Estimated 25,000 Graduates, Families and Friends on the National Mall
May 20, 2012
In full commencement regalia replete with caps and gowns, 73 GW student-athletes joined approximately 5,000 of their George Washington University peers on the National Mall on Sunday to celebrate GW's 2012 Commencement.
"Commencement is the culmination of the collegiate career for student-athletes, and it's what these 73 extremely bright and talented individuals have worked so hard to achieve during their time at GW," said Patrick Nero, director of athletics and recreation. "This senior class in particular was the driving force behind a school-record five championships this past year, but more importantly they have represented themselves, their families and the campus community with dignity and class on the playing field and in the classroom."
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" and host of "Rock Center," served as Commencement speaker at the festivities, following in the footsteps of previous GW Commencement speakers like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; First Lady Michelle Obama; Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama; former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; and then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Our senior student-athletes have been a part of one of the most successful years, athletically and academically, in the history of the athletic department," said Karen Ercole associate athletics director/educational support services. "We are extremely proud of their accomplishments and feel privileged to have shared a part of their lives these past four years. We look forward to hearing of the successes that undoubtedly are in their futures."
George Washington's Class of 2012 pushes the worldwide number of living George Washington University alumni to more than 250,000 Colonials across the globe.
"It's bittersweet to graduate from GW as it has defined my life for the past four years," noted women's soccer goalkeeper Lindsey Rowe, SAAC president. "It's hard to imagine life without the daily trials and tribulations of everything that goes into being a student-athlete, but I am confident that as a graduate of this world-class university, what I've experienced here has me well-prepared for my future."
Rowe's sentiments were echoed by several of her classmates, who surely spoke for the rest of the GW Class of 2012 as well.
"Since my first day on campus the thought of sharing this moment on the National Mall with my family, friends and teammates has been a driving force for me," noted men's tennis player Richard Blumenfeld. "I was a part of so much in my time here, not just as an athlete but as a GW student enjoying everything that Washington has to offer. Also, to be privileged enough to win Atlantic 10 Championships in my junior and senior year makes it especially gratifying to graduate after that."
Jabari Edwards, a graduate student who earned a master's degree in school counseling, noted how he'll always remember GW fondly. "It felt great not only to be a part of college basketball, but to do it here at GW," Edwards said. "I've made a lot of good friends since I've been here, earned two degrees and met a lot of people at the university who I'm sure will always be a part of my life."
Martin Liu, a member of GW's first-ever Atlantic 10 Champion golf team, is emblematic of the Department of Athletics and Recreation's strong international student involvement. The Hong Kong native noted that "the opportunity to be a student and play golf in this world-class city was incredible."
Softball player Lauren Wilson, an exercise science major who was one of nine Distinguished Scholars recognized by the university for having the top grade-point average in their respective schools, also spoke of the moment. "Commencement Day is why you come to college," she said. "I've been very fortunate to be able to compete on the Division I level while I got my education, and those memories will last a lifetime, but graduating and capping my collegiate career after having the experiences and gaining the knowledge that I could get only at GW, is a very special feeling."
Members of the GW Athletics and Recreation Class of 2012 include:
BASEBALL - Jimmy Best, Brett Bowers, Eric Lara, Luke Mirabella, Ollie Mittag, Stephen Oswald, Ryan Thomas