COLLEGE STATION, Texas— Summer commencement exercises are scheduled at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M University campus on Friday, Aug. 16 following the Thursday commencement convocation address by Aggie softball head coach Jo Evans. A total of 17 Aggie student-athletes are slated to participate in graduation ceremonies.
Evans, one of the longest-serving and winningest coaches in the nation, will speak at Rudder Auditorium beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“Coach Evans has served our student-athletes in many ways—coach, mentor and motivator – with a high degree of success, both on and off the field of play. On a wider scale she is an exemplary role model for all Aggies, especially the scores of your women who have had the opportunity to play under her tutelage and learn from her,” Dr. R. Bowen Loftin said in announcing her selection as the summer 2013 commencement convocation speaker. “She will bring a message that will be highly relevant for our degree candidates and well received by everyone in attendance.”
“It is an honor to be asked to speak at commencement. I am immensely proud to be associated with Texas A&M University and I have a great fondness and respect for our student body, the 12th Man,” Evans stated. “I look forward to the opportunity of celebrating this special day with our newest Aggie graduates.”
Evans came to Texas A&M in 1996 after serving for five years at her alma mater, the University of Utah. She began her head-coaching career at Colorado State University in 1986 after serving two years as an assistant at Florida State University.
Since joining Texas A&M she has posted 17 consecutive 30-win seasons, including eight seasons in which her teams won 40 or more games, and advanced to NCAA post-season competition 14 times — twice advancing to the Women’s College World Series. In the process and while the Aggies were still in the Big 12, she was named “Coach of the Year” three times. To date her teams have won 985 games, with 672 of those wins coming while at the helm of the Aggies.
In addition to scores of her players earning conference, regional and national recognition for their skills on the diamond, many of them also have distinguished themselves in the classroom, with 49 of them earning Academic All-Big 12 honors and six receiving similar recognition since Texas A&M joined the SEC.
Commencement convocation is a relatively new Texas A&M tradition in which all members of a graduating class have the opportunity to assemble together, along with family members and friends in an informal setting.
The 17 August student-athletes join the 102 student-athletes who graduated in May as a special group who helped usher Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference.
“I am extremely proud of these young people for taking advantage of an opportunity to continue to play a sport they love, while also earning a degree from our world-class university,” Director of Athletics Eric Hyman said. “These student-athletes have put in a lot of time, effort and dedication to reach this goal, and everyone who has supported them throughout their lives is to be congratulated as well.”
“Many of these student-athletes have not only excelled on the playing fields and in the classrooms, but also through their community outreach efforts,” Hyman explained. “They are excellent role models and outstanding representatives of Texas A&M and Aggies everywhere.”
Four recent senior Aggie student-athletes were recipients of a combined $25,000 in postgraduate scholarships from the SEC. The Brad Davis SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship honorees were Steven Terrell from football and Beth West from women’s soccer, while Case Cochran from men’s golf and Lindsey Miller from women’s volleyball earned the H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarships.
In this first year in the SEC, the Aggies brought home a national championship in men’s outdoor track and field and finished with a record-high No. 4 finish in the Learfield NACDA Director’s Cup. The Aggie also finished in a tie for second in the Capital One Cup in the men’s standings.
The Aggie women’s tennis team and the women’s outdoor track and field squad brought home SEC Championships and the women’s basketball team won the SEC Championship Tournament. Four other programs won top honors in the SEC Western Division as women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s tennis claimed top finishes.
A complete list of student-athlete graduates follows below.
AUGUST 2013 STUDENT-ATHLETE GRADUATES
Dalton, John Men’s Swimming & Diving
Franklin, Johntel Football
Gardiner, Desmond Football
Jones, C.J. Football
Klinke, Shep Football
Miller, Lindsey Volleyball
Pratcher, Adrienne Women’s Basketball
Rosser, Taylor Women’s Track & Field
Scales, Rhontae Football
Showers, Jameill Football
Singleton, Tiffany Women’s Track & Field
Smith, Alyse Women’s Golf
*Smith, Lindsay Equestrian
Stephens, Chandrell Women’s Track & Field
Sweeney, Allyson Women’s Swimming & Diving
Villarreal, Natalie Softball
Windham, Cierra Women’s Basketball