41 Wildcats Set for December Commencement
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Forty-one current and former Wildcat student-athletes from 11 University of Kentucky teams are on track to graduate Friday.
The University of Kentucky’s December Commencement ceremonies will be held at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center on this schedule https://commencement.uky.edu/dec-2023. Adding the 126 student-athletes who graduated in May, which was UK Athletics’ largest graduating class in school history, UK Athletics is expected to have 167 graduates during the 2023 calendar year alone.
Along with 40 student-athletes who are currently competing or recently completed eligibility, former UK football star Maurice Douglass is expected to graduate after finishing his undergraduate work as part of UK Athletics’ Cawood Ledford Post-Eligibility program. Douglass, who is currently in the coaching profession after a successful NFL career, returned to UK to complete his degree after being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the eighth round of the 1986 NFL Draft.
Through the Cawood Ledford Post-Eligibility Program, UK Athletics pays for tuition and books for scholarship student-athletes who return to school after completing their eligibility. Since its inception in 1989, more than 150 Wildcats have returned to graduate through the program.
Three Wildcats, Jordyn Rhodes from women’s soccer, Jackson Gray from baseball and Garrett Wood from men’s golf are completing master’s degrees.
Nine of the athletes have earned all-conference honors during their careers, including Azhani Tealer, Reagan Rutherford, Isabella Magnelli, Kennedy Lightner, Keaton Daniel, Megan Moss, Sam Duncan, Maya Lacognato and Rhodes. Tealer, Rutherford, Magnelli, Lightner, Daniel and Moss earned All-America distinction as well. Two graduates will forever be cemented as a national champion as Rutherford and Tealer helped volleyball to the 2020 title.
Below is the complete list of expected graduates:
J.J. Weaver, Football
JuTahn McClain, Football
Tayvion Robinson, Football
Isaiah Beasley, Football
Jase Bruner, Football
Clay Perry, Football
Izayah Cummings, Football
Marques Cox, Football
Tanner Bowles, Football
Ray Davis, Football
D’Eryk Jackson, Football
Andru Phillips, Football
Brenden Bates, Football
Jeremy Flax, Football
Brennan Creek, Men’s Soccer
Samuel Duncan, Men’s Swimming and Diving
Ethan Kern, Men’s Track & Field
Kennedy Lightner, Men’s Track & Field
Keaton Daniel, Men’s Track & Field
Emma King, Women’s Basketball
Isabella Magnelli, Gymnastics
Carissa Clay, Gymnastics
Makenna Clarke, Gymnastics
Hadley Williams, Women’s Soccer
Sophia Caruso, Women’s Soccer
Anna Young, Women’s Soccer
Claudia Najera, Women’s Soccer
Maya Lacognato, Women’s Soccer
*Jordyn Rhodes, Women’s Soccer
Meg Pangborn, Women’s Soccer
Riley Fairchild, Women’s Soccer
Sydney Ehrhardt, Women’s Soccer
Athena Young, Women’s Track & Field
Carolyn Boyke-Johnson, Women’s Track & Field
Megan Moss, Women’s Track & Field
Iantha Wright, Women’s Track & Field
Reagan Rutherford, Volleyball
Azhani Tealer, Volleyball
*Jackson Gray, Baseball
*Garrett Wood, Men’s Golf
+Maurice Douglass, former Football
+ indicates graduating as part of the Post-Eligibility Program
* indicates graduating with a masters degree
Graduation marks yet another milestone of academic success for UK student-athletes. Guided by UK Athletics’ Student-Athlete Experience Division, Wildcat student-athletes have achieved a cumulative grade-point average of better than 3.0 in 22 consecutive semesters, with grades for the fall semester set to be finalized next week. Recently, UK tied the school record for its NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 92 percent, one point above the national average of 91 percent while all of UK’s teams surpassed the mandatory score for the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. UK’s overall APR rate was higher than the overall national average. In August of this year, UK Athletics announced a school-record 12 Academic All-Americans for the 2022-23 school year from the College Sports Communicators organization.