May 15, 2007
BRYANT HOLDS SPECIAL GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR TWO BASEBALL SENIORS
SMITHFIELD, RI - With Bryant University's undergraduate commencement scheduled for this Saturday, there were two seniors who would likely be missing from the ceremony due to a schedule conflict: Mike Rocco (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Mike Upton (Chelmsford, Mass.).
The reason though, is a rather good one. Especially to miss one of the biggest moments of their lives. Instead of donning the cap and gown on Saturday with the rest of their classmates, the Class of 2007, Rocco and Upton will be leading Bryant's baseball team into the NCAA Division II Baseball tournament in New Hampshire this weekend.
Deciding that there was no way these two could miss out, Bryant President Ron Machtley decided to conduct a special graduation ceremony at the Bello Center, similar to the one performed the last time Bryant made the baseball playoffs and advanced to the College World Series in Alabama in 2004.
Only this time, the ceremony included Rocco and Upton's entire teammates as the pair led their Bulldogs through the walkway between Hassenfeld Commons and into the Bello Center's Stepan Grand Hall which was filled with family members, student-athletes and faculty members.
"For your enormous success as a team and as athletes, you have the task to go and represent Bryant in the NCAA playoffs and for that we are very proud of you," said Machtley during the ceremony. "It is a unique honor to be an athlete, and even more unique honor to be a graduate."
Bryant (32-22) will face Adelphi in the first round of the NCAA tournament this Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Rindge, NH. The last time Bryant was in the NCAA tournament was in 2004 when the Bulldogs won the regional title and advanced to the College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama.