Largest Athletics Graduating Class in UK History
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A total of 126 current and former University of Kentucky student-athletes – the largest graduating class in school history – are on track to complete academic requirements this week or in the summer term.
The graduates will take part in the University’s Spring Commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday in Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center (see information here). Adding the 41 student-athletes who graduated in December, UK Athletics is expected to have 167 graduates during the 2022-23 school year.
Included in the graduates are 19 Wildcats who are completing their master’s degrees – Darren Williams and Tyler Bosma from baseball, Robyn Benton from women’s basketball, Matt Ruffolo, William Nalty and Quintin Wilson from football, Dhaivat Pandya from men’s golf, Richard Clark and Mason Hamilton from rifle, Mary Moffitt, Bailee Locke and Lesley Kiesling from women’s soccer, Clay Holstad and Nick Gutmann from men’s soccer, Emily Baeth and Kyndal Knight from women’s swimming and diving, Keanan Dols from men’s swimming and diving, Jacob Sobota from men’s track and field and Kelly Franxman from volleyball.
UK’s graduating class also has excelled in the arenas of competition. While at Kentucky, the graduates have been part of three NCAA Championships, nine conference championships and six conference tournament championships. A total of 20 graduates have earned All-America honors while at Kentucky and 43 have gained all-conference recognition.
The leadership of this class sparked UK Athletics to a school-record No. 9 final ranking (among 358 Division I schools) in the 2022 NACDA Directors’ Cup all-sports standings.
“Graduation is a pinnacle of the collegiate experience and we are excited about the record number of graduates,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “It takes tremendous dedication to balance the demands of academics and athletics. We are proud of our Wildcats for succeeding in the in the classrooms and the arenas of competition, giving them the foundation for moving forward in the next phase of their lives.”
Wildcat fans will continue to see many of these graduates on their respective fields of play in 2023-24 as numerous student-athletes have remaining eligibility and will return to represent UK while attending graduate school or completing additional undergraduate certifications.
Below is the list of expected graduates:
Hunter Gilliam, I
Darren Williams – master’s degree
Tyler Bosma – master’s degree
Robyn Benton – master’s degree
John Varga, Jr
Justice Dingle, II
William Nalty – master’s degree
Quintin Wilson – master’s degree
Matt Ruffolo – master’s degree
*Paul Puckett, Jr
Dhaivat Pandya – master’s degree
Richard Clark – master’s degree
Mason Hamilton – master’s degree
Nick Gutmann – master’s degree
Clay Holstad – master’s degree
Valdis Bjoerg Sigurbjoernsdottir
Mary Moffitt – master’s degree
Bailee Locke – master’s degree
Lesley Kiesling – master’s degree
Men’s Swimming and Diving
John Michael Gordon
Keanan Dols – master’s degree
Women’s Swimming and Diving
Emily Baeth – master’s degree
Kyndal Knight – master’s degree
Ying-Ze (Arthur) Chen
Carlota Molina Megias
Maialen Morante Oyague
Maria Florencia Urrutia
Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country
Ed Causey, III
Robert Springfield, III
Jacob Sobota – master’s degree
Joseph Palmer, Sr.
Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country
De Anna Martin
Kelly Franxman – master’s degree
* denotes former student-athlete
UK’s graduation success continues the trend of strong academic news:
- Earlier this year, UK Athletics announced that the 2022 fall semester was the 21st straight for the department with a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. Wildcat scholarship student-athletes combined to achieve a GPA of 3.243 in the fall of 2022.
- In November, UK student-athletes tied the school record in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate with a mark of 92 percent. UK has broken or tied the GSR school record every year since the NCAA began measuring that statistic in 2005. UK’s 92 percent is three points above the Division I national average of 89 percent.
- Earlier this week, UK Athletics announced that all of its sports teams surpassed the NCAA cut score in its Academic Progress Rate with 20 teams exceeding or tying the national average.