SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, Va. -- Twenty-two former Richard Bland College student-athletes and cheerleading team members received their Associate's Degrees on Saturday, May 12, at Statesman Hall during the school's 55th Commencement. Four of six Statesmen sports were represented during the graduation ceremonies as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam served as the commencement speaker.
This year's student-athlete and cheerleading graduates included Brooklynn Bilyard (Softball), Tim Bing Jr. (Men's Basketball), Katelyn Cobb (Softball), Miodrag Dronjak (Men's Basketball), Tomás Fonseca (Men's Soccer), Ashley Fritz (Softball), Brandon Henry (Men's Basketball), Ricky Hicks (Men's Basketball), Deon Joyner (Men's Basketball), Kay'Lee Justice (Softball), Hannah Knott (Cheerleading), Kamryn Lanier (Softball), Alexis Lyons (Women's Volleyball), Harrison Mitchell (Men's Basketball), Kara Morris (Softball), Jamie McAvoy (Men's Soccer), Nadira Sharp (Cheerleading), Andrew Skaer (Men's Soccer), Dusan Stankovic (Men's Soccer), Stanley Taylor (Men's Basketball), Danny Torres (Men's Soccer) and Agustin Vassallo (Men's Soccer).
In addition, eight former student-athletes and cheerleading team members are August degree candidates. They include Michelle Berrios (Cheerleading), Finn Busse (Men's Soccer), Michaela Dash (Cheerleading), Sara Gardner (Women's Volleyball), MiKaela Gunther (Cheerleading), Hussein Osman (Men's Soccer), Tre' Patterson (Men's Basketball) and McKenzi Thorne (Women's Volleyball).
Governor Northam became the first Governor to serve as Richard Bland's Commencement speaker since Governor Mills E. Godwin delivered the address in 1969. "Your education here at Richard Bland has prepared you uniquely for the responsibility to serve others. Because you have seen that service lived daily in the help and support you have received at this College, you'll give back to others when you leave here. I hope you'll find someone who helped you get to today's graduation, and tell them, very simply, thank you and I love you." said Northam.
The Governor was presented with an Honorary degree from Richard Bland College of William & Mary by President Debbie L. Sydow and William & Mary Rector Todd A. Stottlemyer.
President Debbie L. Sydow commended graduates for making the campus an inclusive experience for everyone. "The rich diversity of the Richard Bland community is one of the College's greatest strengths. The men and women who make up the student body bring with them vastly different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. These differences enrich all of our lives, allowing us to understand and appreciate a little better the magnificent complexity of our modern world. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your educational journey. The accomplishments we're celebrating today are only the beginning of a string of brilliant achievements that will bring pride to you and your alma mater in years to come."
The afternoon ceremony recognized nearly 250 degree candidates, including more than 50 students (eight student-athletes) who graduated with a GPA of 3.5 or above.
PLEASE NOTE: Photo and excerpts courtesy RBC Communications