The event's highlight was the presentation of Top 10 Scholar-Athlete Awards, which go to the graduating seniors (five men and five women) with the highest cumulative grade point averages. Due to unusual circumstances, this year's group actually included 11 student-athletes:
• Alexis Amato (Rowing)
• Ezra Baeli-Wang (Men's Fencing)
• Hayley Carter (Women's Tennis)
• Christian Caveness (Men's Swimming & Diving)
• Luke Ciocca (Men's Soccer)
• Abby Fisher (Women's Swimming & Diving)
• Sarah Howard (Women's Track & Field)
• Katie McKay (Women's Swimming & Diving)
• Sam Miner (Men's Cross Country/Track & Field)
• David October (Men's Soccer)
• Lucas Popp (Men's Swimming & Diving)
A total of 187 student-athletes, including those 11, were honored as Tar Heel Scholar-Athletes for achieving a GPA of 3.2 or better in both the Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 semesters. Additionally, 34 students were honored as members of the 4.0 Club for having achieved perfect grades in the Spring 2016 or Fall 2016 semesters. Three – Alexis Amato (rowing), Zack Olofson (men's soccer) and Frances Reuland (women's soccer) – earned 4.0s in both semesters.
Also noted and applauded were awards previously announced, including NCAA Elite 90, ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year, Academic All-America and All-District, Athletic Director's Scholar-Athletes, All-ACC Academic teams, ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarships and Phi Beta Kappa induction.
Each of the Top 10 Scholar-Athletes invited a professor or advisor to the luncheon, and all seniors in attendance had the option of inviting a faculty guest, so approximately 30 faculty members attended the lunch. Provost James Dean, one of the afternoon's speakers, recognized the faculty members present and also congratulated members of the men's and women's lacrosse and women's tennis teams, which won Atlantic Coast Conference three days earlier. “I appreciate how hard you work to achieve both academic and athletic excellence,” he told the students.
Each of the Top 10 Scholar-Athlete honorees spoke, introducing his or her invited guest and in most cases giving a bit of advice to the younger student-athletes in the crowd.
Alexis Amato, Easton Pa., Majoring in Health Policy and Management
Amato invited Aimee McHale, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Amato spoke about how McHale inspired her academic path, and she gave this advice to underclassmen: “It's never too late to do what you love and it's not against the law to change your mind.”
Ezra Baeli-Wang, Hillsborough, N.J., Majoring in Asian Studies and Peace, War & Defense
Baeli-Wang invited philosophy professor Douglas MacLean and spoke about the impact that MacLean's class, Ethics of Peace, War and Defense, has had on him. “The most important thing you can experience here at UNC is to have your core beliefs challenged,” Baeli-Wang said in encouraging students to expose themselves to differing opinions and to surround themselves with people who will make them better.
Hayley Carter, Hilton Head, S.C., Majoring in Economics
Carter invited Patrick Conway, Professor and Department Chair in Economics, and spoke about the impact that Conway, her Econ 101 professor when she was a freshman, had on her decision to choose that major. Her advice to younger students was to ask questions (“Don't be afraid to speak up”) and be thankful (“Think of those who have made an impact on you”).
Christian Caveness, Wilmington, N.C., Majoring in Chemistry
Caveness invited Spencer Welborn, an academic advisor and assistant dean, and offered the advice of being sure to utilize academic advisors.
Luke Ciocca, Chapel Hill, N.C., Majoring in Business and History
Ciocca invited Sandeep Rath, Assistant Professor of Operations at Kenan-Flagler Business School, and also thanked his coaches and family. Ciocca has another semester at UNC and will graduate in December.
Abby Fisher, Kinnelon, N.J., Majoring in Nutrition
Fisher invited Kyle Burger, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition who served as her research advisor and also took the time to attend her final swim meet. Fisher's advice was to step out of one's comfort zone and try new things. “Carolina has so much to offer outside of your experience as a student-athlete,” she said.
Sarah Howard, Dublin, Ga., Majoring in Biology and Religious Studies
Howard invited Nathan Schradle, a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies, who taught a “Religion and Science” class that merged Howard's two majors. After noting the challenges sometimes involved with bringing those topics together, she spoke of the things she'd learned from collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds, both academically and on the track team.
Katie McKay, Holmdel, N.J., Majoring in Biology and Psychology
McKay invited Stacey Daughters, an associate professor in the psychology department who served as her thesis advisor. McKay spoke about her decision to come to UNC as a walk-on, and her experience being involved in research at Carolina, even when her schedule was hectic. Her advice? “Challenge yourself to find mentors and role models in areas you're passionate about.”
Sam Miner, Chapel Hill, N.C., Majoring in Business and History
Miner invited Jackie Fritsch, who serves as an advisor in the Kenan-Flagler Undergraduate Business Program. He encouraged underclassmen to make the most of their time at UNC and specifically to investigate the Phillips Ambassadors program, through which he studied in Hong Kong during the summer of 2016. (Baeli-Wang was also a Phillips Ambassador during his time at UNC.) Miner borrowed a popular phrase as his parting words of encouragement.
“Remember,” he told the crowd, “the ceiling is the roof.”
David October, Cambridge, England, Majoring in Business
October invited Courtney Porter, also an advisor within Kenan-Flagler Business School. He spoke of the value of the people at UNC and the relationships he has built, saying, “I look around this room and see so many people I've been inspired by.”
Lucas Popp, Wichita, Kansas, Majoring in Exercise and Sport Science
Popp invited Meredith Petschauer, a professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science who also works with the Sports Medicine program at UNC. “The path can be challenging, but remember: you've been provided with every tool to succeed,” said Popp, who not only has excelled academically, but who proved his musical talents in a piano performance at UNC's recent Rammy Awards.
UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham wrapped up the afternoon with recognition of department and campus partners who have supported the student-athletes as they achieved the success for which they were honored.
4.0 Club for Spring 2016
Alexis Amato (Rowing), Emma Astrike-Davis (Women's Cross Country), Tom Bilden (Men's Swimming & Diving), Rachel Black (Field Hockey), Nils Bruening (Men's Soccer), Hayley Carter (Women's Tennis), Alicia Chen (Women's Fencing), Paige Colpo (Rowing), Alex Comsia (Men's Soccer), Kelly Devlin (Women's Lacrosse), Blissie Du Bose (Field Hockey), Mallory Frysinger (Women's Lacrosse), Ally Hardesty (Women's Swimming & Diving), Annie Harrison (Women's Swimming & Diving), Elizabeth Haus (Women's Lacrosse), Robert Henderson (Wrestling), Jackie Kenny (Rowing), Zack Olofson (Men's Soccer), Frances Reuland (Women's Soccer), Houston Summers (Men's Track & Field), Alex Utley (Wrestling), Shelley Warner (Rowing), Carly Wooten (Women's Fencing)
4.0 Club for Fall 2016
Alexis Amato (Rowing), Jon Beyle (Men's Track & Field), Abby Fisher (Women's Swimming & Diving), Caitlin Gallant (Women's Fencing), Sarah Howard (Women's Track & Field), Abby Hudspeth (Rowing), Amanda Lalezarian (Women's Fencing), Morgan Lane (Gymnastics), Jessica Lynch (Women's Lacrosse), Joey Mangili (Football), Katie McKay (Women's Swimming & Diving), Zack Olofson (Men's Soccer), AJ Rechenmacher (Wrestling), Frances Reuland (Women's Soccer), Hunter Sheridan (Football).
Tar Heel Scholar-Athletes (Spring 2016, Fall 2016)
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING
WOMEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING
MEN'S TRACK & FIELD
WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD