May 20, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland athletics department celebrated graduation day with many of their senior student-athletes and their family and friends Sunday morning. A reception was held prior to the main commencement at Comcast Center as Maryland student-athletes prepared for a memorable afternoon.
Kelly Mehrtens, deputy athletic director/chief operating officer, welcomed each of the student-athletes and their families and spoke on behalf of Maryland athletics.
"There are three things that we always want you to remember," said Mehrtens. "You're always a Terp. This university loves you. And we thank you for everything that you have done to make this such a special place."
Christine Shimel, a graduate and member of the women's golf team, was all smiles when discussing her experience at College Park. "This was an invaluable experience for me," Shimel said. "I earned a dual degree in marketing and Spanish, competed in the ACC and received a top-notch education from the University of Maryland."
Sitting at a table flanked by Cleary, Reed, who earned a degree in journalism, spoke about growing up as Terps fan in Gaithersburg, Md.,
"I love the school," Reed said smiling. "It was just an awesome experience. I received an outstanding degree, made some tremendous friendships and loved my experience as a student-athlete at Maryland."
Field hockey student-athlete Janessa Pope said, "After spending four years at such an amazing university, it is strange graduating, but I have shared these four years with a great class and shared many memories on and off the field with them. We are all moving on to do very different but great things in our future. Having such a large and accomplished class is great, and Maryland has prepared us to be great in our next step. We will always be Terps at heart."
Pope and her senior class of eight total won two NCAA titles, two ACC titles and competed in four Final Fours.
Many members of the athletic administration staff and coaches attended the reception. They greeted student-athletes and their families and shared stories and experiences hours before they would proudly watch each student-athlete walk across the stage as graduates of the University of Maryland.
"This is an exciting time of the year for our graduating seniors as the last four years of managing academics and athletics has culminated in their earning of a university diploma," said Chris Uchacz, associate athletic director, academic support career development. "We are all honored to have had an opportunity to participate and help guide them through this time of their lives while taking an active role on preparing them for life after Maryland. We are very proud to know that they will become leaders in their communities while representing Maryland and continuing to achieve success in whatever challenges they choose to accept."