May 10, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A total of 85 University of Tennessee student-athletes participated this week in graduation ceremonies that began on Wednesday and continued through Saturday. These graduates are on track to complete their degrees either this week or after their summer semester.
"The pursuit of comprehensive excellence includes a sharp focus on success in the classroom by our student-athletes," said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart. "I'm proud of their accomplishments and how they have given their all for Tennessee competitively, academically, and in the community. I'd like to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to our student-athletes who earned their degrees this week from the University of Tennessee."
"Graduating from the University of Tennessee has been such a blessing," said Bailey, a four-year starter from Fenton, Mich. "This school has given me the opportunity to live out my dream on and off the field. I have grown personally and professionally and have made friendships that will last a lifetime and a family I can always come back to. I will always be a Vol for Life."
Caroline Brown, from Hershey, Pa., leaves Tennessee with a list of accolades that include status as a Capital One Academic All-American, All-SEC selection, and All-South Region. Most impressively, she was awarded one of only 29 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships awarded to women's fall sports student-athletes for 2013-14.
"It feels awesome to be able to graduate from such a great university," said Brown. "These last four years have been nothing but incredible, and it's great to see all the hard work pay off. I could not be more proud to be joining such an amazing group of VFLs."
Jordan McRae earned All-SEC basketball honors twice and helped lead the Vols to a Sweet 16 berth in the NCAA Tournament this year. After finishing in the top 10 in several career and single-season categories, McRae leaves Tennessee with an invite to the NBA Draft Combine and a degree after majoring in sociology and criminal justice.
"It feels great to be able to say I'm a University of Tennessee graduate," said McRae. "As hard as we work for four years on the court or on the field, we all work just as hard to reach this goal. For my family to see me walk across that stage - and to do it alongside great friends like Jeronne (Maymon) and Rajion (Neal) - it's just an incredible feeling."
Volleyball player Ellen Mullins played four years at Tennessee, setting the career digs record. A four-year starter and Nashville native, Mullins earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in each of her last two seasons.
"To graduate from such an amazing university and to have played Division I volleyball has always been a dream of mine," said Mullins. "I would not want to be anywhere else than UT. My time here was so exciting, and I will remember it forever."
A left-handed pitcher on the UT baseball team, Dalton Saberhagen traveled all the way from Calabasas, California to attend Tennessee, a decision that he made the first time he visited the Tennessee campus.
"Graduating from Tennessee means the world to me," said Saberhagen. "This place took my heart from the moment I stepped on campus. I have grown up so much in these four years here and have so many memories that I will cherish forever with school, baseball, friends and loved ones. Graduating from UT is the biggest accomplishment of my life, because I am the first of my family to graduate in four years from a major university. I am so proud to be able to say that. Tennessee has made a lasting impression on my life, and I will never forget the memories I made here. I will be a VFL forever."
This year's graduates include four who have completed their degrees through the Renewing Academic Commitment, or RAC program: Jeremaine Copeland (Football), Dwayne Goodrich (Football), Richard Lamb (Men's Golf), and Fred White (Football). Copeland, Goodrich and White were members of the 1998 national championship Vols.
The RAC program assists former student-athletes by providing advice on remaining degree requirements, course scheduling, tutoring, employment and internship opportunities, as well as use of the Thornton Center for their everyday needs.
"Today means a lot to me," said Copeland. "It's a step over the hurdle that I started whenever you came out of high school. Coming back and finishing was something I've always wanted to do. I really wish my father was here to see it. Overall, it's a great achievement, and I'm happy I was able to do it."
"This is one of the best feelings ever," said White. "It's probably my biggest accomplishment, other than winning the national championship, but this is bigger to me. It took me a long time to come back, and the process was not easy, but it's well worth it. I feel like I've really accomplished something."
"Today is surreal," said Goodrich. "Being able to come back and finish at 35 years old and have the support system of the Thornton Center and with the football program has been great. Everyone has welcomed me back with open arms. This is a huge dream for my parents to see me walk across the stage and get that college degree. This is right up there with my top days of all time. It hasn't set in yet."
The full list of Tennessee student-athletes participating in graduation ceremonies include the following:
Austin Bolen, Sport Management
Brent Brewer, Communication Studies
Derrick Brodus, Communication Studies
Allan Carson, Sociology
Jacob Carter, Sport Management
Greg Clark, Sociology
Tyler Coombes, Kinesiology
Matt Darr, Management - Marketing Collateral
Zach Fulton, Sociology
Reggie Juin, Economics
Corey Miller, Sociology
Rajion Neal, Sociology
Tyler Page, Psychology
John Propst, Industrial Engineering
Woody Quinn, Communication Studies
Dontavis Sapp, Sociology
James Stone, Communication Studies
Deanthonie Summerhill, Sociology
JaRon Toney, Economics
Justin Worley, Sport Management
Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC)
Jeremaine Copeland (Football), Political Science
Dwayne Goodrich (Football), Sociology - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Rick Lamb (Men's Golf) - Economics - Business Administration
Fred White (Football) - Political Science
Men's Swimming and Diving
Jordan Mauney, Master's, Accounting - Audit and Controls
Sam Petersen, Communication Studies
Sam Rairden, Supply Chain Management - Marketing Collateral
Carl Svagerko, Materials Science and Engineering
Troy Tillman, Economics
Women's Swimming and Diving
Lindsay Gendron, Marketing - International Business Collateral
Tori Lamp, Therapeutic Recreation
Kate McNeilis, Kinesiology
Grace Anne Sanderson, Public Relations
Lauren Solernou, Kinesiology
Kayla McMurry, Economics - International Business Dual Concentration - Global Leadership Studies
Men's Track and Field
Tavis Bailey, Communication Studies
Chase Brannon, Economics
Kevin Carney, Master's, Sport Management
Jordan Chaney, Wildlife and Fisheries Scienfce
Stephen Derlath, Supply Chain Management - Marketing Dual Concentration
Breon Dixon, Psychology
Lucas Hadden, Forestry - Forest Resources Management
Arnez Hardnick, Accounting - Logistics Collateral
Matthew Hoty, Economics
Terrance Livingston, Sociology
Deon McAdoo, Economics
Jarael Nelvis, Sport Management
Peter Okwera, Economics
Jacob Rainey, Journalism and Electronic Media
Daniel Tobin, Nuclear Engineering - Radiological Engineering Concentration
Women's Track and Field
Katherine Dresch, Kinesiology
Linda Hadfield, Economics
Aslynn Halvorson, Master's, Kinesiology - Exercise Psychology
Brittney Jackson, Journalism and Electronic Media
Ty-Vonna Johnson, Sociology
Patavia Lowery, Journalism and Electronic Media
Allison Outerbridge, Nutrition
Kianna Ruff, Marketing - Entrepreneurship Collateral
Nijgia Snapp, Marketing - Entrepreneurship Collateral
Nikki Brice, Accounting - International Business Collateral
Jasmine Brown, Master's, Social Work - Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice
Ellen Mullins, Marketing - Entrepreneurship Collateral