Friday, June 9, 2023
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
I have always been intrigued by the 4.0 student-athlete! Forget the 4.0s, our student-athletes as a whole amass significantly higher GPAs at graduation than all other students, and many of them display a breadth of interests beyond their chosen sport. Interestingly, when I attended a concert event showcased by our wind ensemble late in the academic year, and the band leader was recognizing the graduating members, many were student-athletes majoring in some of our most rigorous programs. Is it the rigor, the rhythm, the balance or the careful alignment of all life’s tasks in perfect harmony that results in the movement and momentum required to achieve enviable results?
Even after the spring semester ended, as many of our students went on to summer internships or began to prepare for summer courses, several of our student-athletes were continuing to represent our university in regional and national competitions.
Missouri S&T’s golf team made it to the NCAA Division II championships. Both the women’s and men’s track and field teams had stellar seasons, with Maya Wright winning Freshman of the Year honors from the conference, Nathan Swadley earning All-America honors in the shot put at the NCAA championships and Jacob Luebbert finishing third in the hammer throw at the championships while setting a new school record for us. Five members of the women’s track and field team won Academic All-District honors, as did five members of the men’s team.
To me, the most impressive recognition of all this spring was the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award, which our athletics program earned for displaying good sportsmanship throughout the season and across all of our 15 men’s and women’s teams. This honor reflects well on every one of our student-athletes and the entire program!
This impressive sportsmanship, balance and alignment demonstrated by our student-athletes is the finesse, rigor and rhythm required of today’s successful career professionals, leaders and rainmakers. In fact, our successful alumni and our past student-athletes will tell you that good sportsmanship is one of the key factors to their success, along with teamwork, collaboration, determination and leadership. Leadership that was demonstrated by coaches who believed in them. The coaches who “walked” with them — in front, or far behind, but always, always by their side, encouraging them to exceed their preconceived potential.
Sandra Magnus, a retired NASA astronaut who earned a B.S. in physics and an M.S. in electrical engineering, was a standout on the women’s soccer team here at S&T. Keith Bailey, a 1964 mechanical engineering graduate, played football and basketball for the Miners and served as the CEO of the Williams Cos. In fact, Bailey chose to honor his coach and mentor, the late Dewey Allgood, through a gift to name Allgood-Bailey Stadium, the Miners football stadium. John Gibson, a 1974 engineering management graduate, played basketball at S&T and later became chair, president and CEO of ONEOK, a natural gas company. Dr. Kim Colter, a successful physician, co-captained the football team and earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from our university, and Diane Butrus, a 1985 computer science graduate who played for the softball team, now serves as chief operating officer for Diba Imports.
To our student-athletes, I say congratulations for exceeding every expectation. I hope you carry your winning attitude far beyond your college years and know that what you have achieved while here at S&T is a mere fraction of your as-yet untapped potential.
To our coaches, I say thank you for your leadership, for inspiring our students to believe in themselves and for guiding them to make that belief reality. You have prepared them to face their fears, overcome their hesitations, take the successful leap of faith and enliven their dreams. You not only guided them to success, you also ensured that they succeeded.
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