With the flip of their tassels from right to left, 13 of Middle Tennessee State University‘s finest student-athletes became MTSU graduates Tuesday, April 23, at a special early spring commencement ceremony held at the Andrew Woodfin Miller Sr. Education Center.
The student-athletes will be unable to attend the May 4 commencement because they’ll be representing the university on the field, court or course.
Golfer Hanley Long, tennis players Gonzalo Morrell and Jacob Pugh, and baseball players Carter Bair, Blake Benefield, Darrell Freeman Jr., Drew Huff, Carson Lester, Andy Rivera, Andy Wright, Brett Stratinsky and Tyler Holcombe each were awarded bachelor’s degrees. Baseball player Jake Wyrick earned a bachelor’s degree but was absent because he’s playing in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
MTSU’s president, Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, was on hand to confer degrees, along with MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences dean and athletics faculty representative Terry Whiteside, Director of Athletics Chris Massaro and other faculty, staff, family members and guests.
“It’s my pleasure to preside over this very special commencement as we recognize our graduating student-athletes who are unable to participate in the May 4 ceremony,” McPhee said during his opening remarks.
“Graduates, with today’s ceremony, you will become part of a very distinguished history and tradition of this institution. As president, along with our outstanding faculty, staff and alumni, I want you to know we are indeed extremely proud of you and your accomplishment.
“The 13 of you being recognized today are among the 35 student-athletes receiving a degree this spring. This total is a remarkable number as we reflect on the priority of our athletic department … and graduates, I want you to enjoy this day.”
Darrell Freeman, class of 1987, vice chairman of the MTSU Board of Trustees, spoke on behalf of the board. He’s also the father of new graduate Darrell Freeman Jr.
Read the full story by Josh Vardaman of GoBlueRaiders.com and see more photos here.