Student-Athletes Honored at The Tribute
BATON ROUGE — Thursday evening, 86 student-athletes were recognized for their success off the field at “The Tribute,” a ceremony commemorating all LSU student-athletes graduating this spring and summer.
Held in the South Stadium Club inside Tiger Stadium, each student-athlete received a special stole made specifically for LSU athletes. Thursday marked the third edition of “The Tribute,” which was held for the first time in May 2016.
“We’ve called some great games and we’ve called some terrific plays, but tonight is the greatest play of all, because student-athletes are going to graduate,” Dan Borne, The Voice of Tiger Stadium, said. “They are going to get something that will rest with them for the rest of their lives.”
Among the field of the 86 soon-to-be graduates, there are 41 student-athlete of the month recipients, 15 All-SEC members, seven SEC champions and five NCAA champions. Eight athletes will further their education by entering a Master’s program.
“Everybody knows what an LSU degree is and what it does for our graduates,” LSU President F. King Alexander said. “Your sports may vanish, may change. You may end up playing golf later on because you can’t play basketball or baseball or softball, but nobody can ever take the degree away from you.”
Senior gymnast Ashleigh Gnat was selected as the class speaker, making an impassioned speech to her fellow athletes. As graduation drew near, Gnat said she had given a lot of thought to a phrase her head coach, D-D Breaux, commonly used: “Tradition never graduates.”
“As our class and every single person walks across this room and when we walk across the stage tomorrow, we become a part of LSU history; we become a part of the tradition,” Gnat said. “We may move forward … but what we’ve done here, our mark and our legacy, that stays here with LSU.”
Gnat earned six All-America honors, won three SEC Championships, set the school record with four titles in a single season, and earned the NCAA floor championship during her final season.
“This is my favorite night; my favorite time,” vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva said in his closing remarks. “You hear us say excellence on the field or in the gym or on the track or wherever, but excellence in the classroom and excellence in the community – you all represent that.”
The student-athletes will receive their degrees Friday, when graduation ceremonies are scheduled to take place throughout the afternoon. The 86 student-athletes are part of the largest graduating class in LSU history.