Education Secretary Arne Duncan months ago expressed his disappointment with the low graduation rates among most student-athletes attending major universities throughout the nation. But he wouldn’t have much to complain about after a few local colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C./Maryland region graduated their senior classes this past weekend.

More than 40 current and former student-athletes joined Bowie State University’s graduates during the 2011 spring commencement on May 20 at BSU’s Bulldog Stadium. 

Six BSU student-athletes graduated with honors, including Male Student-Athlete of the Year Sterling Grant-Jones, two-time winning CIAA Softball Champion Danielle McClay, two-time winning CIAA Bowling Champion Rebecca Frusciante and Jatyra Heath of the women’s volleyball team.

“We are very proud of our student-athlete graduates today. These young men and young ladies are the true examples of student-athletes,” said BSU Athletic Director Anton Goff. “They have embraced the mission of the Athletic Department and understand the importance we have stressed about academics. It is a proud moment for our coaches and administrators to be a part of the joyous occasion.”

In D.C., Georgetown University graduated all six of its seniors on the men’s basketball team, including star players Austin Freeman of Mitchellville, Md., and Chris Wright of Bowie, Md.

Wright said that receiving a bachelors’ degree in government from Georgetown is one of the proudest moments of his young life. “It’s been a long road, but this is something I’m really proud of,” Wright said.  “I said at the banquet that I put my blood, sweat and tears into this and I didn’t just mean on the basketball court; I meant in school, too. And, I know my family is proud of me for graduating and I am, too.  It will always be great to be a Hoya.”

Freeman, who’s preparing to start his professional basketball career, was just as happy as Wright to graduate. “Just to get a degree from Georgetown, it does a lot for you.  I’m really happy I had the chance to come here,” Freeman said. “Georgetown is not one of the biggest schools so everyone knows everyone.  You build relationships and this week shows how special it is, you learn a lot from everyone. It’ll be good to see all those guys one last time as students.  We’ve been in this together.  We’ve been through a lot, both good and bad, but we can say we made it through.”