CHARLESTON, S.C. - A total of 53 current and former student-athletes and 15 members of athletic department support groups participated in a pair of May Commencement ceremonies held at the College of Charleston on Saturday on the Cistern Yard.
A tradition unlike many other colleges and universities, CofC students who complete their undergraduate degrees do not wear robes or caps for the spring commencement ceremony. Instead, women don white dresses and men wear white dinner jackets. For decades, this annual tradition has taken place in front of The College's oldest building, Randolph Hall, with ancient live oak trees draped with Spanish moss setting the stage.
This year's articulate group included international business, elementary education, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, geology, mathematics, studio art, philosophy, psychology and urban studies majors as well as some of the most decorated athletes in program history who have etched their names in the record books.
Leigh Whittaker (Baden-Baden, Germany), a three-time All-Southern Conference Team selection for women's golf, plans to earn her LPGA Tour card through Q-School this summer, and Antwaine Wiggins (Greeneville, Tenn.), the school's fourth all-time leading rebounder (702 rebounds) and seventh all-time leading scorer (1,306) in Division I history for men's basketball, signed with an NBA and FIBA agent with plans of scheduling workouts this summer with NBA teams and continuing his playing career overseas.
Most notably, 16 student-athletes in the Class of 2012 graduated with honors including women's tennis standout and J. Stewart Walker Cup recipient Caroline Newman (Greensboro, N.C.) and men's cross country distance runner and 8,000-meters school-record holder Christian Bailey (Charlotte, N.C.), who graduated at the top of their class, summa cum laude, with a 3.9 or better grade-point average.
Newman and Bailey were also one of four CofC Honors College graduates along with Chris Toussaint (Charlotte, N.C.) of men's tennis and Caroline Warren (Charleston, S.C.) of sailing. Newman earned multiple awards including one of the most prestigious at The College in the Bishop Robert Smith Award, the Alumni Medal, the John Lewis Gervais Jr. Award and the Phi Kappa Phi Merit Award.
Jessica Latham (Conway, S.C.) of equestrian, Matt Sherrier (Boulder, Colo.) of men's swimming and diving and Sam Stokes (Norfolk, Va.) of sailing graduated magna cum laude (3.750-3.899 GPA) followed by Lara Brandfass (Morgantown, W.Va.) of women's swimming and diving, Alyssa D'Orazio (Haddonfield, N.J.) of women's track and field, Rudi Hellberger (Summerville, S.C.) of men's soccer, Alyssa Maschi (New Hartford, Conn.) of women's swimming and diving, Callen Powers (Chesapeake, Va.) of women's track and field, Eric Robertson (Dalzell, S.C.) of men's cross country, Emily Smith (Rock Hill, S.C.) of women's track and field, Chris Toussaint, Allison Truitt (Greenville, S.C.) of women's soccer, Caroline Warren and Rachel Williams (Auburn, Ala.) of equestrian, cum laude (3.500-3.749 GPA).
Several student-athletes also garnered outstanding student and department honors including Rachel Williams in French, Francophone and Italian Studies, Christian Bailey in Hispanic Studies, Caroline Newman in Psychology, Matt Sherrier in Psychology, former baseball player Rob Pritcher (Charleston, S.C.) in Physical Education/Teacher Education, equestrian rider Jessica Latham (Conway, S.C.) in Secondary Education - Spanish and men's cross country distance runner David Lamberson (Stafford, Va.) in Urban Studies.
Department honors also went to Chris Toussaint in Biochemistry and Caroline Warren in Health Promotion, while Callen Powers (Communication) and Lara Brandfass (Sociology and Psychology) were named School of Humanities and Social Sciences Scholars. All benefited from the support and guidance from the CofC Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) staff headed up by director Keith Merritt II and learning specialist Kate Tiller and academic advisor Melinda Reger.
Former College of Charleston men's basketball player, Carl Thomas (1998-99), returned to The College after playing professional basketball in the U.S. and overseas as well as for the Virgin Islands senior men's national team to finish coursework towards his degree in business administration. Former CofC baseball player Brandon Sizemore (2008-09) also returned to the Lowcountry to complete coursework in business administration after being drafted in the 30th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2009 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft. He played for two years in the minor leagues with the Arizona Brewers, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Helena Brewers.
The majority of CofC's graduating student-athletes have benefited from scholarship funding throughout their academic and athletic careers provided by the Cougar Club, the athletic department's fundraising arm. If you would like to become a member to help continue to support student-athlete scholarships, please contact executive director Brandon Stevens at (843) 953-8255.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON ATHLETICS MAY 2012 GRADUATES (in alphabetical order by last name)
Alyssa Aitken, Sailing, Sandwich, Mass., Business Administration
Christina Arguello, Equestrian, Brentwood, Tenn., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management
McKenzie Armour, Equestrian, Murrells Inlet, S.C., Communication
Hope Atkinson, Women's Soccer, Rumson, N.J., Communication
Christian Bailey, Men's Cross Country, Charlotte, N.C., International Business/Hispanic Studies, Honors College, Summa Cum Laude
Sydney Boniface, Equestrian, Darlington, Md., Chemistry
Erik Bowers, Sailing, Excelsior, Minn., Biology
Lara Brandfass, Women's Swimming & Diving, Morgantown, W.Va., Psychology/Sociology, Cum Laude
Laura Call, Women's Track & Field, Downingtown, Pa., Physical Education and Health
Kevin Cawthon, Men's Soccer, Easley, S.C., Physical Education and Health
Elyse Chubb, Volleyball/Sand Volleyball, Peachtree City, Ga., International Business
Alyssa D'Orazio, Women's Track & Field, Haddonfield, N.J., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management, Cum Laude
Perry Emsiek, Sailing, Corona del Mar, Calif., Physical Education and Health
Lindsay Frey, Women's Soccer, Cincinnati, Ohio, Biology
Branko Gavric, Men's Soccer, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Biology
Hannah Gmerek, Women's Soccer, Anderson, S.C., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dmitriy Gorin, Men's Swimming & Diving, Alpharetta, Ga., International Business
Corey Hall, Sailing, St. Petersburg, Fla., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management
Deryn Hannapel, Equestrian, Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Studio Art
Hayley Harrell, Volleyball, Charleston, S.C., Psychology
Sarah Havel, Volleyball, Carmel, Ind., Elementary Education
Danielle Huntsman, Equestrian, Elverson, Pa., Arts Management
Rudi Hellberger, Men's Soccer, Summerville, S.C., Business Administration, Cum Laude
Alexander Hill, Men's Cross Country, Columbia, S.C., Mathematics
Haley Horkey, Women's Swimming & Diving, Waldorf, Md., International Business
Zeke Horowitz, Sailing, Sarasota, Fla., Business Administration
David Lamberson, Men's Cross Country, Stafford, Va., Urban Studies
Jessica Latham, Equestrian, Conway, S.C., Hispanic Studies, Magna Cum Laude
Amanda Lonergan, Softball, Pembroke Pines, Fla., Physical Education and Health
Alyssa Maschi, Women's Swimming & Diving, New Hartford, Conn., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management, Cum Laude
Will Moore, Men's Soccer, Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Business Administration
Emily Nellermoe, Equestrian, Columbia, S.C., Economics/Political Science
Caroline Newman, Women's Tennis, Greensboro, N.C., Psychology, Honors College, Summa Cum Laude
Molly O'Neil, Sailing, Narragansett, R.I., Geology
Nick Osterman, Baseball, Goose Creek, S.C., Physical Education and Health
Callen Powers, Women's Track & Field, Chesapeake, Va., Communication, Cum Laude
Rob Pritcher, Baseball, Charleston, S.C., Physical Education and Health
Eric Robertson, Men's Cross Country, Dalzell, S.C., Biology, Cum Laude
Matt Sherrier, Men's Swimming & Diving, Boulder, Colo., Psychology, Magna Cum Laude
Brandon Sizemore, Baseball, Jacksonville, Fla., Business Administration
Emily Smith, Women's Track & Field, Rock Hill, S.C., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management, Cum Laude
Sam Stokes, Sailing, Norfolk, Va., Physical Education and Health, Magna Cum Laude
Hillary Stringer, Softball, Summerville, S.C., Physical Education and Health
Carl Thomas, Men's Basketball, Tampa, Fla., Business Administration
Ross Tooley, Men's Golf, Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Physical Education and Health
Chris Toussaint, Men's Tennis, Charlotte, N.C., Biochemistry, Honors College, Cum Laude
Allison Truitt, Women's Soccer, Greenville, S.C., Political Science, Cum Laude
Jordan Turok, Men's Basketball, Chapin, S.C., Business Administration
Caroline Warren, Sailing, Charleston, S.C., Biology/Physical Education and Health, Honors College, Cum Laude
Leigh Whittaker, Women's Golf, Baden-Baden, Germany, Business Administration
Antwaine Wiggins, Men's Basketball, Greeneville, Tenn., Sociology
Rachel Williams, Equestrian, Auburn, Ala., International Business/French, Cum Laude
Kristen Wolfe, Women's Track & Field, Midlothian, Va., Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON ATHLETICS SUPPORT GROUPS
Christina Bellin, Eldridge, Iowa, Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training, Magna Cum Laude
Rob Boutote, Freehold, N.J., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training
Jamar Brown, Columbia, S.C., Athletic Training
Danny Conley, Greenville, S.C., Athletic Training
Whitney Eakin, Vinton, Va., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training, Summa Cum Laude
Kendra Gardner, Greenville, S.C., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training
Kelsey Hines, Boiling Springs, S.C., Biology/Athletic Training
Jenny Hunnicutt, Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training, Cum Laude
Melissa Murray, Dance, Alpharetta, Ga., Physical Education and Health
Gina Nash, Cheer, Rock Hill, S.C., Elementary Education
Jefferson Rabe, Murrells Inlet, S.C., Athletic Training, Summa Cum Laude
Megan Roach, North Augusta, S.C., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training
Liz Snow, Avon, Conn., Athletic Training, Cum Laude
Allyson Townsend, Dance, Charleston, S.C., Physical Education and Health, Summa Cum Laude
Sara Vermouth, Northborough, Mass., Physical Education and Health/Athletic Training, Cum Laude