May 16, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - As the 2013-14 academic year comes to an end and commencement is less than 24 hours away, three graduating Green Wave student-athletes were recognized among the top members of the Class of 2014 as baseball student assistant Briggs Barrios, volleyball letterwinner Amber Bennett and All-Conference USA women's tennis standout Klara Vyskocilova earned the prestigious Tulane 34 Award.
The Tulane 34 Award is presented annually to 34 graduates who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate lives. Students are recognized for their exemplary leadership, service and academic excellence. Named for the year the University was founded, 1834, Tulane 34 is among the most coveted honors bestowed upon the student body.
A three-year letterman and one-year member of the Green Wave coaching staff, Barrios earned the award after twice being tabbed Tulane Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for maintaining the highest grade point average among all male Green Wave student-athletes. A native of Metairie, La., who earned a degree in finance and management, his academic excellence resulted in his selection to participate in the invitation-only Darwin Fenner Student Managed Fund honors seminar.
In addition to his time on the diamond and in the classroom, Barrios helped organize the baseball team's Versus Cancer event, which raised more than $10,000 for childhood cancer efforts in the New Orleans area. He was awarded the 2014 Tulane Athletics Torch Award for excellence in service to the University, the Department of Athletics and the community.
Bennett spent three seasons as a member of both Tulane's indoor and sand volleyball teams and was elected as the school's female representative to Conference USA's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition, the native of West Columbia, S.C., chaired the "Let's SAAC Hunger!" food drive, helped organize fundraising among C-USA schools for Tulane's Devon Walker and volunteered with Court Watch NOLA and the NCAA Samaritan's Feet program.
Vyskocilova, meanwhile, is a two-year letterwinner on the court where she earned first-team All C-USA honors each season and claimed C-USA Player of the Year as a senior in 2014. After posting a 19-8 overall record and finishing the year No. 70 in the nation to go with a No. 5 ranking in the Southern Region a year ago, Vyskocilova was even better in her final collegiate season as she posted a 20-6 overall mark to date - including a flawless 13-0 mark during the spring season - and will participate in the NCAA Women's Championship from May 21-26 in Athens, Ga.
A native of Klatovy, Czeck Republic, who earned a degree in finance, she claimed C-USA Player of the Week honors three times during her career, was twice named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and was voted to the 2014 C-USA All-Academic Women's Tennis Team. Vyskocilova also worked on the Greening Yulman project, which aimed to help build the Green Wave's new on-campus football stadium while benefiting the environment and improving the University's LEED ranking.
Tulane's Unified Commencement Ceremony is slated for Saturday, May 17, at 9 a.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Highlighting the day's festivities in the keynote address from internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader, composer and educator Wynton Marsalis.