TAMPA - Years of balancing studies and sports have led up to an unforgettable moment for USF senior student-athletes this weekend.
An impressive total of 64 Bulls will be in their caps and gowns to graduate from a University that will forever hold a special place in their hearts.
"It's good, but hard at the same time," said men's tennis player Yannick Yoshizawa, a finance major who plans to complete an internship this summer. "This is everything. USF has been one of the biggest steps of my life."
Soon-to-be graduates attended a reception Friday morning hosted by USF at the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center and the common statement among the Bulls was a simple, "I'm ready."
Aside from the academic assistance student-athletes have gotten at USF, the Bulls have received valuable experience through the Enhancing U program that was started by Selmon to make sure the program's upperclassmen were prepared for life after college. Enhancing U has provided USF's senior class with financial workshops, resume building sessions, interview techniques and even an etiquette dinner all in the past school year.
"I really feel so much more prepared than I ever have," said women's golf team member Kelli Pry, a biomedical sciences major. "I feel no matter what I do that I'm guaranteed success because I was here, I was an athlete and I had people here that supported me and showed me what to do. I have a really good sense of, 'OK, it's going to be hard, but there are always people here to help me to the next step.'"
The scene around the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center has been a busy one. Family and friends have arrived to celebrate the accomplishments of so many of USF's student-athletes. They've earned recognition throughout their careers, but whether it's today or tomorrow, the highest honor will come when their name rings from the Sun Dome public address announcer as a graduate fromthe University of South Florida.
Here is a list of USF Athletics' newest graduating class: