LEXINGTON, Ky. (5/2/13)— Rupp Arena takes on a new meaning for three members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team Sunday, May 5, as they participate in UK's 146th May Commencement. Twany Beckham, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson, all Kentucky natives, can add having a college degree to their already long list of accomplishments.Beckham, who grew up in Louisville, will graduate with a degree in communication and a 3.4 grade point average. Beckham spent two years at Mississippi State before transferring to UK for his final two years of school.
“My experience at UK has been great,” Beckham said. “I just want to thank all the coaches, especially Coach Cal (Calipari), for giving me the opportunity to come here.”
Moving closer to home allowed him to spend more time with his mom and brothers, with whom he is very close. They gave him the push he needed to succeed not only on the court, but in the classroom as well.
“It’s tough because basketball, especially at the University of Kentucky, requires a lot,” he said. “You just have to stay focused. You have to put the same time that you put into basketball into the classroom if you really want to be successful.”
Beckham said that he prides himself on being a good student.
“It wasn’t easy,” Hood said. “The first two years, I had a hard time with managing my time, as far as schoolwork and separating it from basketball.”
The Madisonville native will be graduating with a degree in community and leadership development. Hood points to amazing support from his family, friends and coaches for his continual drive toward success.
“Everyone supports you in basketball all over the state, but they also support you in the classroom and as a person,” Hood said. “People here in the [UK athletics department], media relations department, coaches, fans … want to see you succeed.”
It was this support, along with summer school and previous credits that allowed Polson, a Nicholasville native, to graduate with a degree in finance in just three years. Polson joins Beckham on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
“I am very honored to be able to graduate in three years,” Polson said.
While Hood and Polson still have a year of athletic eligibility left, Beckham is finishing his college career as a finalist for the 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award and a national champion on the hardwood. Beckham hopes to go to Los Angeles and enter the entertainment business, but won’t forget the impact that UK had on him.
“Just coming to UK humbled me a lot, and I feel like I grew up,” Beckham said. “It made me sit back and look at things from a whole different perspective and just enjoy life and the college experience. Being at UK, I’ve gotten to meet some really great people and have some really great teammates.”
All UK Commencement ceremonies – the graduate and professional ceremony as well as the two undergraduate ceremonies – will take place in Rupp Arena. Graduate and professional degrees will be conferred at 9 a.m.; undergraduate degrees will be conferred at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
•9 a.m. — Graduate and Professional Ceremony
•1 p.m. — Undergraduate Ceremony for the Colleges of: Agriculture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; and Nursing.
•6 p.m. — Undergraduate Ceremony for the Colleges of: Arts and Sciences; Communication and Information; Design; Fine Arts; Health Sciences; and Social Work.
More than 2,000 undergraduates and 500 graduate and professional students are expected to participate in Sunday's exercises; approximately 2,840 undergraduate, 1,040 graduate, and 460 professional degrees have been submitted to the UK Board of Trustees for approval.
All Commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed online at www.uky.edu/uknow, the university’s daily news website. Videos of each ceremony will also be uploaded to the university's YouTube channel, during the week following Commencement.
Information provided by Sarah Geegan and Quianna Lige
Photo provided by the University of Kentucky
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