November 10, 2004 - by
FSU Provost Headlines 2004 Golden Torch Gala

Nov. 10, 2004


Written by Brien Schmauch

The Florida State Athletics and Academics Department hosted the 14th annual Golden Torch Gala, a unique ceremony celebrating the academic honors of Seminole student-athletes, on Tuesday, November 9, 2004. The Athletic Department, along with the Seminole Boosters, sponsored the black-tie affair.

“The annual Golden Torch Gala is one of the highlights of the year,” said Seminole Boosters President Andy Miller. “It gives everyone attending the opportunity to focus on the best thing we do as a fund-raising organization, which is to provide young men and women an opportunity for an education. The focus is on the student-athlete and their academic achievement. It gives our donors a chance to see the face behind the scholarship and reinforces why they contribute to the program.”

The keynote address was given by Dr. Lawrence Abele, FSU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In more than 20 years as an educator at Florida State, Dr. Abele has served students as a professor, department chair and dean before his current role. Dr. Abele emphasized discipline and personal integrity in all aspects of student-athletes lives, as well as, commending them for their incredible achievements.

“One great thing about athletics is that we learn to fail very publicly and to get up and try again,” Dr. Abele.

For the eighth consecutive year, the women’s tennis team earned the Women’s Team Golden Torch Award for the highest team grade point average. The Men’s Team Golden Torch Award went to men’s cross country. Swimmers Michael Averett and Tonya Rasor were recognized as the Top Overall Male and Female student-athletes respectfully.

“Michael learned the lessons of college,” said Neil Harper, head swimming coach. “He applies himself to his challenges and is a good leader. When he came to FSU he was an athlete, now he’s a student-athlete.”

“Tonya is analytical and organized,” continued Harper. “She always put in the extra work, both in the pool and classroom. She also gave back, totaling more hours of community service than any other on the team.”

The student-athletes on each team with the highest grade point averages received the Individual Golden Torch Awards. They are as follows:


2004 Golden Torch Award Winners 
SPORT                 STUDENT ATHLETE        MAJOR
Baseball              Aaron Cheesman         Finance & Real Estate
Basketball            Orenn Fells            Sport Management
                      Ganiyat Adeduntan      Nursing
Cross Country         Shawn Patterson        Biological Science
                      Katie Puckett          Biological Science
Football              Wyatt Sexton           Communication
Golf                  Matthew Adcock         Mechanical Engineering
                      Caroline Larsson       Psychology
Soccer                Jezali Ratliff         Sport Management
Softball              Natasha Jacob          Exercise Science
Swimming              Michael Averett        Sport Management
                      Tonya Rasor            Psychology & Creative Writing
Tennis                JP Bounassar           Biological Science
                      Lindsay Deason         Psychology
Track                 Andrew Diakos          Business & Sport Management
                      Rachael Evjen          M.S. Sport Administration
Volleyball            Jennifer Anderson      English Education

Tribe members named to the 2003-04 Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll were also recognized at the Gala. Eleven of FSU’s seventeen (17) teams are ranked either first or second in the conference with the number of student-athletes on the ACC Honor Roll. In a sport-to-sport comparison, FSU ranks second overall for the number of student-athletes on the ACC Honor Roll.

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