CLEVELAND, OH – Florida State men’s tennis senior Guy Iradukunda was named one of five recipients of the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award as named by the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A).
“I am really proud of Guy and what he has accomplished here as a player and even more of what he has accomplished as a person,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “He has overcome tough obstacles and I am thrilled that he received this award and will be recognized in June.”
The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award honors student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
As the youngest of five children, Guy Iradukunda spent his early childhood in Burundi, a small country in East Africa. Tennis was introduced to him at a young age, mostly through his father, while his mother instilled in him a focus on academics. At the age of 13, Iradukunda left his family in Burundi to attend a tennis-focused school in South Africa, and later traveled to Morocco when the school relocated. This was his first experience of being away from his family and learning how to adjust to a different language and culture.
He came to the U.S. to attend Seminole State College in Oklahoma in 2014, and this was the last time he has seen his family. Living in Oklahoma was a major adjustment from life in Africa, but Iradukunda thrived on the tennis court, winning the Junior College Individual Championship his freshman year. During his sophomore year, his home country of Burundi experienced a devastating economic crash ultimately leading to civil war. Iradukunda felt tremendous guilt during this time as he lived in constant fear for his family’s safety while feeling selfish for being “safe in America.”
Transferring to Florida State to finish his collegiate tennis career, Iradukunda found a new family in his teammates, many of which were also international student-athletes. Because of the escalation of the conflict in Burundi, his family has since fled and found refuge in nearby Rwanda. While Iradukunda’s future plans are not yet clear, he will be graduating this Spring and will continue to pursue a professional tennis career in hopes to be able to reunite with his family.
Since at Florida State Iradukunda has thrived on and off the court. He has been named second-team All-ACC in both 2017 and 2018 and has helped lead the Seminoles to one of the best seasons in school history with a 23-10 record this season.
The honorees will be recognized during the N4A Convention Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, June 26 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
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