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2020 Spring Commencement Graduates

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A virtual goodbye and thank you to our athletes who, in a lot of cases, finished their time here abruptly too soon.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
Nov 11, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Ajani Kerr (38) breaks up a pass intended for Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Cam Phillips (5) on the Hokies’ last play of the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Before all this quarantine and such hit, I used to joke a lot that I just couldn’t believe that the current third years had such a busy first month of school. The eclipse, the Tennessee game, the tumultuous campus, it all seemed a lot for new kids around the campus to have to adjust into a new life at the same time. In light of current events, that all seems quaint and far away. I guess a more accurate thing to say nowadays is that I can’t believe all of [gestures around broadly] is going on right here, right now, either. We are in a wild, unpredictable, unforeseen time. But don’t let all that detract from the magnitude of this achievement.

It’s a lot, to be a student at Georgia Tech, and it’s a lot to be one that is involved at any level on campus, let alone as an athlete. Today, sure, we celebrate the names of the names and faces we’ve seen at the ball diamond, on the gridiron, in the pool, or on the court, but we also recognize the faceless thousands of their peers who “got out,” too. Only a small handful of our students are varsity athletes, but each and every one of our alumni ventures out into the world to do great things. This is what it means to commit to progress and act with service. This is what it means to be the archetypal “Georgia Tech Man,” though the tent is much broader now than it was in the first half of the twentieth century when that phrase became popular. It’s hard to know if the college you decide on, let alone the major you decide on, is a perfect fit for you when you’re a seventeen or eighteen year old high school senior. I’m in the camp that there is no one perfect place, but that’s a subject for a different article. Regardless, Tech is a place where all can come, regardless of race, gender, class, or creed, and find great success. It’s special that, on a day like this, a gorgeous one where I’m currently writing, we get the time to set aside special recognition to the ones who made it to the other side.

I’ve written these graduation articles with a pretty glaring irony in the now almost three years I’ve been at this website. Semester after semester, I was congratulating graduates while still an undergrad. Today, well, I guess I can appreciate that accomplishment for what it is in full, what it means to graduate as a Georgia Tech engineer. While I may not know in the whole what our varsity athletes go through in the complete sense - [Heart], my club team famously calls all practice optional - I think this one hits a bit differently. To my peers in the Class of 2020, athletes and not, known and unknown, we made it. In the last four, or five, years, Tech has become an integral part of who we are - where we work, sleep, play, and struggle. It’s our friends and family. A place we call home. Let’s be honest, the work we do at our Institute is famously not easy. It is incredibly hard to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. It is infinitely harder to be one that is also involved with varsity athletics. So, to all the students graduating today, congratulations. You made it. We all did, really. It is hard not to be able to celebrate this together, spread out as we are around the country and around the globe. But the situation we’re going through is not a permanent one. Some day soon, we will be back in Atlanta, back at our Tech.

I like to recap what the athletes have seen In their time on the Flats - the athletes getting out have been parts of great things. It’s a bit of a strange feeling this year, though, since recapping the last four years these athletes have been here is essentially my entire time as a Tech fan, so I’ll do my best to be brief. 54 graduates, many with great stories, is a lot to cover in just a paragraph, but here it goes. With any cursory glance at this list, Jonathan Hughes and Jackson Webb pop out immediately. The two contributed to the incredible success of last year’s baseball run in two very different ways, and were primed to make a similar impact this year. As for Evan Cole, well, he may be leaving with eligibility still left, but when he was on last season, he was on. His development in his all-too-short time on the Flats is a great sign of what the team means when they say they want to be a development-based program. Meanwhile, Francesca Pan essentially was always a star. Notching conference Freshman of the Year honors as an anchor member of a team that found itself in triple overtime of the WNIT championship, her dedication through the choppy waters was a leveling force and was a huge contributor to what probably would have been a tournament team this year, had that happened. Tyler Davis, a relative newcomer, has been in the news plenty recently, but, of all these athletes, hes one of the few that made it to his big break. Ajani Kerr, though, has been around for a long time - redshirting on the 2016 team that won nine games, including a Gator Bowl, at Lane S_adium, and one between the hedges. Hes probably most remembered for breaking up a pass that Justin Fuente mysteriously called on 4th and 1 late in the fourth quarter in 2017, what was ultimately VPISU’s last play of the game, and Tech was able to upset a top-25 VPISU team. Of all these athletes, though, Andy Ogletree is perhaps the most accomplished. He became the third Yellow Jacket to win the US Amateur, joining the vaunted Bobby Jones and the well-loved Matt Kuchar, both of who went on to be massively successful in their own rights. He and Luke Schniederjans, a man who had the misfortune of being the third brother in that uber-talented family to come to Tech, were a huge part of back-to-back ACC champion golf squads and figured to make a run at the long-elusive national championship this spring. Rodrigo Correia and Emily Ilgenfritz, both members of the swimming program, go down as two of the best to ever do it at Tech, with the former a huge part of the men’s team that finished in 24th at NCAAs last year, and the latter Tech’s best-ever female distance swimmer by a country mile. And, last but certainly not least, Kenya Jones of the tennis program leaves today as the undisputed anchor of her team, and was on fire before the suspension of play. She was a crucial link, both on singles and doubles, on the team that made it all the way to the Final Four back in the spring of 2017, and will be greatly missed by yet another Tech team that seemed like everything was coming together again for this spring. To all those mentioned and unmentioned, thank you and congratulations.


Thanks to RamblinWreck.com for the complete list of graduates:

Baseball

Jonathan Hughes - Business Administration
Paxton Rigby - Business Administration
Jackson Webb - Business Administration

Men’s Basketball

Evan Cole - Business Administration
Shembari Phillips - Business Administration

Women’s Basketball

Anne Diouf - Business Administration
Francesca Pan - Business Administration
Chanin Scott - Business Administration

Football

Jakob Brashear - Business Administration
Jalen Camp - Business Administration
Jarrett Cole - Business Administration
Tyler Davis - Economics (MS)
Hamp Gibbs - Business Administration
Rashaun Grant - Business Administration
Connor Hansen - Business Administration
Omahri Jarrett - Business Administration
Lucas Johnson - Literature, Media and Communication
Ajani Kerr - Business Administration
Chet Lagod - Business Administration
Austin Nash - Industrial Engineering
Lucas Patelles - Business Administration
Daryl Smith - Business Administration
Jared Southers - Economics (MS)
Rich Stanzione - Aerospace Engineering

Golf

Andy Ogletree - Business Administration
Luke Schniederjans - Business Administration
Anton Serafini - Industrial Engineering

Softball

Brooke Barfield - Business Administration
Crosby Huckabay - Business Administration
Isabella Many - Business Administration
Drew Puckett - Business Administration

Men’s Swimming and Diving

Rodrigo Correia - Business Administration
Brennan Day - Business Administration
Clay Hering - Business Administration
Aidan Pastel - Aerospace Engineering

Women’s Swimming and Diving

Carly Doi - Computer Science
Emily Ilgenfritz - Business Administration
Caroline Lee - Business Administration
Maddie Oliver - Business Administration
Lindsay Wallace - Biology

Women’s Tennis

Kenya Jones - Business Administration
Nami Otsuka - Biology

Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country

Sam Costa - Business Administration
Ben Jean - Chemistry
Andrew Matson - Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Matthew McBrien - Electrical and Computer Engineering (MS)
Maurice Simpson - Business Administration

Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country

Ellen Flood - Industrial Engineering
Bri Hayden - Biology
Alexandra Melehan - Mechanical Engineering (MS)
Lindsey Wheeler - Biology
Denise Woode - Aerospace Engineering

Volleyball

Emily Becker - Biology
Lexi Dorn - Business Administration

A Note:

They usually give us graduates of the spirit program as well, but didn’t this year, so, if you’re graduating from that, well, we’re sorry we can’t announce it like usual, but we with you the very best, regardless.


To all of the graduates, those who are student-athletes and those who are not, we here at From the Rumble Seat wish you the very best wherever your Georgia Tech degree may take you, from professional athletics, to graduate school, to the top of your fields - you will go far. To those moving on from Tech, or varsity athletics after this season, we thank you for your time and dedication to the Institute, as well. We cannot wait to see what you all become. Thank you for being Yellow Jackets.