A Trio of All-American Gymnasts Earn Degrees

Senior Ashley Priess and 2011 senior Kayla Hoffman both earned their undergraduate degrees while 2010 senior Morgan Dennis earned her master’s degree

Alyssa Chapman

Alyssa Chapman went through Saturday's graduation ceremony in Coleman Coliseum after earning her degree last spring.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three University of Alabama All-American gymnasts earned their degrees this semester, while a fourth went through Saturday’s graduation ceremony after graduating last spring.

Senior Ashley Priess and 2011 senior Kayla Hoffman both earned their undergraduate degrees while 2010 senior Morgan Dennis earned her master’s degree.

“To see these ladies come through our program and accomplish so much, winning championships and many distinguished honors is incredible,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “To see them top it all off by earning their degrees is the reason David and I are involved in coaching.”

While Priess, Hoffman and Dennis chose not to walk in Saturday’s graduation ceremony, 2011 senior Alyssa Chapman did get to finally celebrate her spring graduation.

“Alyssa planned to go through the graduation ceremony in the spring, but April’s tornado canceled that, and when the combined spring and summer graduation ceremony came around in August, she was in Megan Mashburn’s wedding that same day,” Patterson said. “I’m very excited that she finally had the chance to go through the ceremony.”

Priess, a five-time All-American, becomes the first Alabama gymnast to earn her degree in less than four years and will be working on her master’s degree in marketing as she competes this season.

“I think this will be a unique opportunity for Ashley and allows her to begin graduate classes and experience a different arena to help determine what path she wants to take after her gymnastics career is over,” Patterson said.

The Wheaton, Ill., native earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a psychology minor and hopes to combine her language skill with a marketing degree to eventually work in international business.

Hoffman’s degree comes on the heels of a prestigious internship at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. The SEC and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dennis, who was selected as the athletics department’s minority graduate assistant for athletics administration last year, earned her master’s degree in sports administration to go with her undergraduate degree in psychology.

Priess and her teammates get the 2012 season underway on Friday, Jan. 13 at home against the University of Georgia. Season tickets are on sale at the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in Coleman Coliseum and online at RollTide.com.

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