May 16, 2014
• 2014 student-athlete graduation reception
MADISON, Wis. -- Nearly 40 University of Wisconsin student-athletes were honored during the annual graduation reception hosted by the Office of Academic Services and Office of Student-Athlete Development in Bennett Hall of the Student-Athlete Performance Center on Friday.
Among other things, the evening's events included keynote speeches from graduating student-athletes, Chris Wiederecht of the UW swimming and diving team, as well as Shannel Blackshear of the softball squad. The student-athletes in attendance also received commemorative stoles to be worn during UW's spring commencement on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.
With parents, coaches and teammates looking on, Wiederecht and Blackshear both expressed their appreciation for all of the life-long lessons and friendships that UW has provided them during their time in Madison.
"For me, athletics goes beyond just being a player, it actually pushed me as a person as well," Blackshear said. "The support from friends, teammates and staff members here (was great).
"Them being there was a big deal for me especially because I went through a surgery and my family wasn't able to come up. If I didn't have that support it would have been a lot more difficult for me."
Wiederecht expressed the same gratitude toward his teammates who have now become family and as he remembered all those who made his college experience a memorable one, he also reiterated his unending love for the surrounding city and campus.
"The only regret I have in leaving Madison is not having another four years here," said Wiederecht, who will begin a job with the Ford Motor Company in September. "It's such a wonderful city and I will forever call UW home."
One former student-athlete who perfectly embodies this sentiment is women's basketball standout Tamara Moore, who returned to UW to earn her degree 12 years after declaring for the WNBA Draft in 2002.
Blackshear, Wiederecht and Moore made up just three of the 38 student-athletes in attendance at the graduation reception.
In all, 88 UW student-athletes will celebrate their spring and summer graduation during spring commencement, which is highlighted at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, May 17th.
For detailed information on a few of Wisconsin's graduating student-athletes, check out a special graduation edition of Varsity Magazine, the official online magazine of Wisconsin Athletics.