Knight and Yaro Earn Awards as Georgetown Holds Commencement Exercises

May 20, 2018

WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University men’s soccer player Joshua Yaro (Santa Barbara, Calif./Cate School) returned to the Hilltop to complete his degree and winning the Thomas Francis Graham Award from the Georgetown College along the way. Additionally, Jody-Ann Knight (Bentonville, Ark./Bentonville), a four-year member of the track & field / cross country program, was the recipient of the Stephanie Waterman Medal, presented by the School of Foreign Service as the Department of Athletics celebrated all 163 student-athletes earning degrees this past weekend.

The Thomas Francis Graham Award was founded by the Graham Family in memory of their father Thomas Francis Graham (C'1949). The honor of this award is bestowed upon a graduating senior of the College who has demonstrated throughout his or her college career concern for others, academic achievement, sportsmanship as a member of an intercollegiate team and dedication to the educational and spiritual goals of Georgetown University.

Yaro left school following his junior season signing a Major League Soccer Generation adidas contract, the first in GU history. He was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 draft selected by the Philadelphia Union. While playing for the Union, Yaro has been working to complete his degree in government.

Yaro, a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-America honoree, was named the 2015 unanimous BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous First Team All-BIG EAST for the second-consecutive year. He was also First Team All-Great Lakes Region. The team captain started 17 games for the Blue & Gray in 2015, missing four contests due to injury, and played a key role in the squad's nine shutouts. On offense, he posted an assist.

Yaro was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, the BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Preseason All-BIG EAST and to TopDrawerSoccer.com's Preseason Best XI First Team. He was also named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 26, 2015. He was a two-time All-American, and three-time all-region selection.

Off the field, he was named United Soccer Coaches First Team Scholar All-America, CoSIDA Academic All-District and was a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic honoree. In the community, he has The Josh Yaro Foundation, which helps to pay for educational needs for children in his native Ghana.

The Stephanie Waterman Medal is named in memory of a student in the School of Foreign Service who was captain of the varsity tennis team and who died in Senegal in 1985. The medal is awarded to the outstanding scholar-athlete of the graduating class.

In Knight’s four years on the Hilltop, she has earned All-BIG EAST honors four different times. She earned league honors twice in the 200-meter dash and twice on relays, most recently at the 2018 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where she helped the Hoyas to a podium finish in the 4x100-meter relay. Additionally, Knight capped her tremendous career on the Hilltop by anchoring the school record-setting foursome in the 4x200-meter relay at the 2018 Penn Relay Carnival. In the classroom, Knight was recognized three times to the BIG EAST All-Academic Squad.

The awards were distributed at private Tropaia Ceremonies held by the individual school. The word Tropaia, meaning trophy, is ancient Greek and referred to a monument constructed to celebrate a military victory.

Commencement exercises were held on Friday and Saturday, while a smaller group will graduate in a private ceremony on Monday. On Friday, the McDonough School of Business held graduation, while on Saturday student-athletes earned their degrees from Georgetown College, the School of Nursing & Health Studies and the School of Foreign Service.

The baseball team, which competed over the weekend, will take part in a graduation ceremony in Riggs Library on Monday.

One of the highlights of the ceremonies was when Ty Williams, a member of the football team who was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury suffered in a game in 2015, walked across the stage for the first time in more than two years. It was an emotional moment for all involved that earned a standing ovation.

The student-athletes who graduated from Georgetown Class of 2018 were part of an impressive group, both on and off the field of competition. During their four years on campus, the Class of 2018 included student-athletes who were on teams that won three BIG EAST Regular Season titles, 13 BIG EAST Tournament Championships, 40 BIG EAST individual titles, made 35 NCAA tournament appearances and five that won non-NCAA National Championships.

The class also included student-athletes who earned more than 292 league or national academic honors.

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