Every spring and fall semester, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association honors outstanding gradu
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette awarded degrees to 1,362 graduates during Fall 2015 Commencement ceremonies on Friday.
It was the largest fall semester graduating class in the history of UL Lafayette.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees were conferred at ceremonies that were held at different campus locations. Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to 1,161 graduates. Master’s degrees were awarded to 180 graduates. Nineteen graduates received doctoral degrees. Two graduates received graduate certificates.
“Go make your mark on the world. Aim high. You’re a Ragin’ Cajun and that’s what we do,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president, during the General Assembly at the Cajundome.
Six students who earned bachelor’s degrees were recognized as summa cum laude graduates for achieving perfect 4.0 GPAs. They are: Annie Beth Briley, marketing; McKenna Elizabeth Andrepont, political science; Emily Marie Gauthier, a double major in sociology and English; Hugh Anthony Prats, history; Caleb Dean Rink, organizational communication; and Rachel Lieberman, nursing.
Leondre' Queen was named UL Lafayette’s Outstanding Graduate. A kinesiology major, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Education.
Nadine Bayard was recognized with the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award. She received a Master’s of Business Administration from the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.
Jake Delhomme, a 2001 graduate of the University, was guest speaker. The retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2004.
Delhomme, who is from Breaux Bridge, La., and played at Teurlings Catholic High School, was a four-year starter at UL Lafayette.
In 1993, he was the only true freshman to start at quarterback for a Division 1 school. He guided the Ragin’ Cajuns to three winning seasons and two conference championships.
He wasn’t selected by a team in the 1997 NFL draft, and signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent. Delhomme honed his game in NFL Europe and on the Saints practice squad for a couple of seasons. He eventually earned a roster spot as a backup and bided his time. The Carolina Panthers signed him in 2003.
Delhomme, who retired in 2011 after short stints in Cleveland and Houston, holds many Panthers team records, including passing yards (19,258) and touchdown passes (120).
He told graduates that dedication, hard work, and a positive outlook enabled him to overcome his status as an unheralded player, with a questionable future, during his first few seasons in the NFL.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated, that’s optional,” Delhomme said.