May 22, 2012
WASHINGTON - Graduation ceremonies were held at Georgetown University on Saturday. Among those earning their degrees were members of NCAA Championship winning teams, BIG EAST Championship teams, several All-Americans and Academic All-Americans, many All-BIG EAST selections, nearly 200 BIG EAST Academic All-Star honorees and two students who left school early to pursue professional opportunities in their sport.
Among the student-athletes graduating were members of the 2011 NCAA Women's National Championship cross country team, as well as members of teams that played in NCAA soccer tournaments and teams that won BIG EAST titles in men's golf, women's lacrosse and soccer.
Also included in the group of student-athletes was former men's basketball All-American Jeff Green, who earned his degree in English with a minor in theology, doing so during summer breaks from the NBA, where he has been a standout for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics.
Another former Hoya who balanced a professional career while finishing school was former baseball player Matt Bouchard, who was selected in the 12th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets and returned each off-season to earn his degree from the McDonough School of Business.
"It was tough to do," Bouchard said. "It's a bit trickier on the baseball end because our season can cross over semesters, but I'm really glad that I made the commitment to come back and do it. When I got drafted, it was a dream come true, but there was a great sense of accomplishment in walking across that stage."
For most of the student-athletes, it was the culmination of four years of hard work.
"It was everything I dreamed of," men's basketball player Henry Sims (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph's) said, "minus the fireworks."
"It's a great feeling to be done with my undergraduate education," football player Andrew Schaetzke (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) said. "Georgetown has been an amazing experience for me."
The fireworks, of course, occurred each time someone stepped across the stage and received their diploma.
"I'm proud of what I did and what I accomplished while I was here," men's basketball player Jason Clark (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) said. "I had a great experience here playing basketball, but the best experience of all was being at Georgetown and now being able to say that I am a Georgetown graduate."
While all students who graduated had family and friends in attendance at various ceremonies throughout the weekend, many of their coaches made it a point to be there as well.
"Winning games and going to the NCAA Tournament is a great experience and it's what we all want as athletes and coaches," Women's Basketball Head Coach Keith Brown said, "but I'm very proud to here and to see the culmination of their hard work, both in the classroom and on the basketball court.
Women's soccer player Samantha Baker (Long Beach, Calif./Wilson), who earned All-BIG EAST Third Team honors after scoring seven goals and recording eight assists for 22 points, said that the enjoyment of graduation wasn't just limited to the day itself but to the entire college experience.
"For me, college was a growing experience," she said. "It wasn't necessarily fun at first, but to get it all together and to grow and to know that I finished my last semester of college with my best grade-point average, it was very rewarding. Being here last week and walking across that stage was a celebration, not just of four years, but of having my best season on the field and my best year in the classroom. It was just a great celebration."