USC Honors holds first Athletic Department Graduation Ceremony

    Aug. 3, 2010

    USC Athletics honored its graduating student-athletes at the first annual Athletic Department Graduation Ceremony on May 13th. Each student was recognized by their head coach, Athletic Director, Mike Garrett, and Senior Associate Athletic Director in charge of Academic Services, Magdi El Shahawy. Special guest, former USC All-American football student-athlete, Kenechi Udezi, was on hand to motivate his fellow alumni. Kenechi shared his experience since leaving USC and encouraged students to focus on their legacy. In 2004 Kenechi was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, but left the NFL when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2008. His inspirational story helped students understand the significance of their experience at USC and the impact they can have on others.

    Two senior student-athletes also spoke at the ceremony. Men's basketball stand out, Mike Garretty, and women's track and field All-American, Shalina Clarke, addressed their classmates and families with messages of gratitude and compassion. Four senior student-athletes received special recognition and were presented with a USC Athletics Senior Award. Jon Hackett from men's volleyball and Shalina Clarke were presented with the Gimble Award for promoting unity and cohesion amongst student-athletes. Cutino Award winner, Kami Craig from women's water polo received the Trojan Diamondeer Award for bringing the most recognition to the university and Katherine Ellis from women's track and field earned the Willis O' Hunter Award for achieving the highest cumulative grade point average of any student-athlete. Students and their families joined the department for a reception following the ceremony.

    Congratulations to all graduated student-athletes. We are proud of your accomplishments and honored to have shared this momentous day with you and your families.