LSU Holds 'The Tribute' For Graduating Athletes
BATON ROUGE, La. – Thursday night in the South Stadium Club inside Tiger Stadium, LSU athletics and the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes, recognized more than 20 graduating student-athletes at “The Tribute,” an event recognizing and honoring their academic accomplishments.
The fall event piggybacked off of the event which started last spring as a way to commemorate the achievements of student-athletes both on and off the field, with each graduating player that is expected to walk in Friday’s various commencement exercises on campus receiving a special LSU stole to signify their hard work in the classroom and in competition.
“Tonight you are going to receive your stole which represents your duty and responsibility that comes with being a student-athlete. We recognize that it’s a dual responsibility and you’ve lived up to that,” Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes said. “The reality is that this is one heck of a milestone, and you are the author of the next chapter of your lives. You are in the driver’s seat and you control your destiny.”
The stole, made of white fabric with purple stitching featuring the word “Student-Athlete,” the Tiger head and LSU primary logo, allows the student-athletes to stand out among their peers, while blending in with the university’s traditional purple cap and gown ensemble.
Senior football player Lewis Neal, who became the first African-American student-athlete to own a financial investment firm listed on the Foreign Exchange, addressed the graduates and their families and what being the first person from his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina, to attend an SEC institution.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have attended LSU. Even with the considerable amount of poverty and crime I was able to overcome the odds that were at hand, and sports offered me the opportunity to have a better future,” Neal said. “I chose LSU because of its culture and welcoming atmosphere. As a student-athlete, entrepreneur and full-time student I’ve learned the important skills of leadership and time management.”
21 student-athletes representing seven sports were honored at Thursday night’s event, including nine from the LSU football team, four from men’s track & field, three from softball, two from men’s tennis and one each from baseball, women’s tennis and women’s track & field.
LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva closed the ceremony, expressing his gratitude to the student-athletes and how rewarding it is for him to be able to attend events like this that honor the ultimate goal of graduating student-athletes.
“Winning games, matches and meets is great, but graduation is what it’s really all about,” Alleva said. “This is why we’re in this business. We’re in the business to help prepare you for the rest of your lives and hopefully that’s what we’ve done.”
LSU’s fall commencement exercises will be held throughout the day Friday on Campus.
The Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes is a 54,000 square foot facility comprised of academic affairs, student affairs and an information technology teams, serving more than 530 student-athletes. The purpose is to provide an all-inclusive, student-centered support structure for all student-athletes from matriculation, through graduation and life beyond.
Winter Graduates (Dec. 16, 2016)
E.J. Ourso College of Business (6)
Eric Alexander, Football, Master's in Business Administration
John Ballis, Football, General Business
David Collins, Men's Track & Field, Marketing
Fitzroy Dunkley, Men's Track & Field, Marketing
Colin Jeter, Football, General Business
Tam Trinh, Men's Tennis, General Business
College of Science (1)
Alex Boulet, Softball, M.S. in Natural Sciences
College of Engineering (1)
Garret LeBouef, Men's Track & Field, Electrical Engineering
College of Humanities & Social Sciences (4)
Kendrick Adams, Football, Interdisciplinary Studies
Early Doucet, Football, Interdisciplinary Studies
Mickey Johnson, Football, Interdisciplinary Studies
Jonathan (Tragardh) Norberg, Men's Tennis, English
College of Human Sciences & Education (9)
Rachel Barber, Beach Volleyball, Sports Administration
Ellen Barkemeyer, Women's Track & Field, Kinesiology
Alayna Falcon, Softball, Kinesiology
Jenna Kreamer, Softball, Sports Administration
Lewis Neal, Football, Sports Administration
Ethan Pocic, Football, Sports Administration
Jackson Slaid, Baseball, Sports Administration
Dwayne Thomas, Baseball, Sports Administration
Tre'Davious White, Football, Sports Administration