Aug. 6, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Saturday proved to be a very busy day for several members of the Alabama gymnastics family.
A trio of gymnasts, Ricki Lebegern, Megan Mashburn and Alyssa Chapman made the leap from students to alumni Saturday afternoon, during the University of Alabama's combined spring and summer commencement ceremony.
"I am very proud of Alyssa, Megan and Ricki, who were recognized as University of Alabama graduates today," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "All three are shining examples of the fact that at Alabama, you can truly have it all, earning Scholastic All-American honors each year of their careers and competing on teams that won championships."
Originally slated for May, the tornado that came through Tuscaloosa on April 27 caused the spring commencement ceremony to be postponed. Because of that change, Mashburn and Chapman, who completed their degrees in May and were scheduled to walk in the spring ceremony, weren't in Tuscaloosa Saturday, due to a conflict with a longstanding date on Mashburn's calendar - her wedding - where Chapman was a bridesmaid.
"This day is extraordinarily special for Megan, who is not only being honored as a graduate, but is also getting married today with Alyssa in attendance as one of her bridesmaids," Patterson said. "And for Ricki, who enjoyed so many outstanding moments in Coleman Coliseum, this day, with so many family and friends in attendance, will surely be one she'll never forget."
That scheduling conflict also saw coaches Sarah and David Patterson heading in different directions, with David Patterson traveling to South Carolina for the wedding, while Sarah Patterson made her way to Coleman Coliseum for graduation.
Sarah Patterson was also on hand to honor Alexa Martinez Givan and Tiffany Byrd, both Scholastic All-Americans during their Crimson Tide careers, who took home postgraduate degrees Saturday with Givan adding a doctorate to her resume while Byrd earning her master's degree.
"I am always proud when a member of the Alabama gymnastics family furthers their education," Sarah Patterson said. "I know these postgraduate degrees will help carry Alexa and Tiffany further along toward their career goals."