April 2, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Crimson Tide gymnast Ashley Sledge was tapped for XXXI, the University of Alabama elite women's honorary, Monday evening in a ceremony held on campus.
The junior All-American and Scholastic All-American was nominated by UA head coach Sarah Patterson, who is also a member of XXXI. In addition to her individual accomplishments, Sledge helped lead Alabama to the 2011 NCAA Championship as well as the 2009 and 2011 SEC Championships.
The honorary was created in 1989 to honor women who have a common commitment to the University of Alabama though their service, leadership, and respectable character. Each member is nominated by XXXI alumnae and selected by the previous Order.
"I am so very proud of Ashley and all she has accomplished to stand among these wonderful and accomplished women," Patterson said.
Sledge was surprised on the Ferguson Center Plaza by Alabama senior rower Erika Baranek, herself a member of XXXI, with an invitation to join the 24th Order along with a white rose.
"It was definitely a surprise and a great honor," Sledge said after the ceremony. "I remember Morgan (Dennis) was inducted around this time my freshman year, but I had no idea that this would be happening today."
Sledge, with Patterson looking on, was then introduced with her class of campus leaders which included authors, filmmakers and entrepreneurs. Honorary members of the 24th Order of XXXI included United States Representative Terri Sewell and UA Assistant Vice President Deborah Lane.
Past honorees include former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and current U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.
The Crimson Tide gymnastics team has a long history with the honorary. In addition to Patterson and Sledge, Morgan Dennis, Merritt Booth, Lexa Evans, Dee Foster, Kelly Good, Robin Hawkins, Ashley Miles, Andreé Pickens, Marie Robbins, Kristin Sterner and Meredith Willard have all been inducted into XXXI.