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Pomp and Circumstance

May 7, 2005

ATLANTA–Georgia Tech’s all-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker Gerris Wilkinson, all-America golfers Nicholas Thompson and Chan Song and all-ACC volleyball player Jayme Gergen are among the student-athletes graduating this semester as the Institute held its spring commencement exercises Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Former Yellow Jacket football standout Nick Ferguson, now a member of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League, returned to Tech this semester and completed his degree in Management, but the Broncos’ safety could not participate in commencement. Ferguson finished at Tech in 1995 and then embarked on a professional football career that took him to Canada and NFL Europe before he settled in the NFL in 2000.

Wilkinson is one of two current football players to graduate this semester, along with tight end/long-snapper Gavin Tarquinio. Both earned degrees in Management but will return next fall for their final season of eligibility while beginning work toward a second degree.

Other members of the 2004 football team graduating Saturday were safety Nathan Burton, who earned his degree in Biology, fullback Jimmy Dixon (Management), quarterback Mark Logan (Managment), tight end Darius Williams (Management) and punter David Smith (Polymer Fiber Engineering). In addition, two former Tech punters earned advanced degrees – Dan Dyke (MBA and master’s in Electrical Engineering) and Hal Higgins (MBA), while former lineman Will Hardy added a Management degree, with high honor, to his Building Construction sheepskin.

Song, and Thompson, the leaders of Tech’s third-ranked golf team, both graduated in Management, Song with high honor and Thompson with honor. Gergen, who led the Yellow Jacket volleyball team to the NCAA Sweet 16, earned her degree in Psychology with high honor.

Four members of the Jackets’ ACC-leading and sixth-ranked baseball team are now Georgia Tech graduates in starting second baseman Mike Trapani (Management), relief pitcher Jordan Crews (Management, highest honor), infielder Jake Hall (Management) and infielder Cameron Lane (Management). Trapani will return next year for his final season of eligibility. Former Tech baseball standout Bryan Prince also graduated in Management following a professional baseball career.

Two starters on Tech’s softball team, which won the ACC regular-season title, graduated in Management in first baseman Kirin Kumar and third baseman Katie Donovan.

Eight members of the men’s track and field program graduated, including ACC hurdles champion Montrell Person (Management), former ACC shot put champion Zeb Sion (Management, highest honor) and all-ACC distance runner Kyle Rabbitt (Management), as well as Ian Brewer (Management, honor), Eric Massey (Computer Engineering, honor), Neil McDonagh (Management), Gaben Moore (Computer Engineering, hogh honor) and Jonathan Spillman (Management, highest honor). The women’s track program boasted three graduates in former ACC champion Shanta Smith (Management, honor), who is injured this year and will return for another season of competition, Jennifer Lentz (Aerospace Engineering, highest honor) and Priscilla Reed (Industrial Engineering).

Seven women’s swimmers graduated, including Ann Battle (Management, highest honor), Jennifer Christenson (Industrial Engineering, highest honor), Lisa Hancock (Management, high honor), Jaclyn Keys (Management, high honor), Michelle Maguire (Management, honor), Anna Saum (Management) and Moeko Wallis (Management, highest honor.). They were joined at commencement by three men’s swimmers, Matt Figh (Biology, highest honor), Marc Maier (Industrial Engineering, high honor) and Jeremy Raines (Management).

Also graduating Saturday were former women’s basketball player Jasmina Pacariz (International Affairs) and former tennis player Jason Pieters (Management).

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