COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland held its spring commencement over the weekend, with a number of Maryland student-athletes participating in both the main graduation event at XFINITY Center and their school specific ceremonies.
Big Ten Medal of Honor winner, track and field’s Alex Leto, expressed his appreciation for the experiences the university gave him. Leto and women’s basketball’s Kristen Confroy earned the Big Ten’s ultimate honor for a student-athlete.
"I can't say enough about my four years at Maryland and the opportunities I've had both on and off the track,” Leto said “All the hard work on the track, in the classroom and in the community has paid off. I'm beyond thankful for everyone who's played a part in my Maryland experience."
A total of 70 student-athletes earned their degrees this spring. The graduating class includes student-athletes from 17 teams and over 50 members of their respective sport's all-conference academic teams. That includes football’s Ellis McKennie, who earned his degree in government and politics.
"Graduating from Maryland puts the world at our fingertips,” McKennie said. “Nothing is impossible with a college degree. I am so grateful to Maryland and Maryland football for this opportunity."
Men’s basketball’s Michal Cekovsky touched down at the university in 2014 from Slovakia and established Maryland as a second home. The standout center now leaves with a degree in hand.
“I’ve had an unbelievable four years at Maryland. When I arrived in 2014 to an unfamiliar place, I barely spoke any English,” Cekovsky said. “This University and community has become my second home and walking across the stage at graduation was very special for me and my family. I am so thankful for the support from my coaches, academic support staff and teammates.”
All-American men’s lacrosse midfielder Connor Kelly achieved everything you can on a lacrosse field, but expressed that it will be his degree that makes the difference as he takes his next steps in life.
“I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've had during my four years at Maryland and it is an honor to receive my degree with my friends and teammates,” Kelly said. “I can't wait to put what I've learend towards life after college and I'm extremely grateful for the experience."
Summing up the excitement of the day was softball All-Big Ten honoree Skylynne Ellazar, who traveled all the way from Hawaii to become a Terp. She spoke with enthusiasm about the importance that her degree will have on her own life, but also on her family and people in her hometown.
“Graduating from Maryland means I get the honor and pride of being a Terp FOREVER. I also get to set the example for future generations to come in my family, that graduating with a bachelor’s degree is attainable and very important for their future success in life. Graduating a Terp means I made it, a kid from a small town in Hawaii beat all the odds against her and came out on top. And I just want to say Mahalo to everyone at Maryland for allowing me to be a part of the Terp Nation!”