Seniors trade baseball caps for caps and gowns at early graduation

Slated to miss Elon’s May 24 commencement exercises due to the CAA Baseball Championship in Virginia, seniors on the Elon baseball team participated in a special early graduation ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

​Ten members of the Elon University baseball team will take the field Thursday as the university’s newest graduates, a day before more than 1,400 fellow members of the Class of 2019 walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

During a special commencement ceremony Wednesday afternoon in Harrisonburg, Virginia, these seniors on the team were awarded their diplomas early surrounded by friends, family, coaches and teammates. The team is in Harrisonburg for the Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championship, which got underway on Wednesday. The Phoenix earned a first-round bye after winning its first regular-season title since joining the CAA in 2014, and will take on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Thursday.

Elon’s use of a month-long Winter Term during January pushes its commencement exercises later than most colleges and universities, with the date of commencement often falling during the CAA Baseball Championship. That’s the case this year for the championship, which won’t conclude until this weekend.

Conducting the commencement ceremony Wednesday night was Paul Parsons, a professor of communications who last year concluded his service as the founding dean of the School of Communications. President Connie Ledoux Book, who will deliver a charge to the Class of 2019 on Friday during the main commencement ceremony, recorded a special video message to the 10 seniors on the team that was played during the ceremony.

The students even brought their official Elon caps and gowns, and were awarded their official diplomas.

“This really emphasizes the ‘student’ in ‘student-athlete’,” said Kyle Wills, senior associate athletics director for business and operations. “These are kids who spent four years working toward a degree. What an amazing and memorable experience for them.”

Members of the Class of 2019 receiving degrees Wednesday:

Ty Adcock

Kyle Brnovich

Mason Daniels

Cam Devanney

Kellan Elsbury

Naushon Galbraith

Brandon Justice

Owen Lorenz

Liam O'Regan

Peter Perkins