FAYETTEVILLE – Former University of Arkansas basketball player Jonathon Modica and co-head gymnastics coach René Cook are each receiving their doctor of education degrees (Ed.D.) on Saturday in graduation ceremonies in Bud Walton Arena.
A native of Smackover, Ark., Modica played for the Razorbacks from 2003-06 and was an all-freshman selection by the Southeastern Conference in 2003. He followed by being a second-team All-SEC pick in 2004 and 2006. Modica is a member of the 1,000-point club as he scored 1,589 points for the Razorbacks for his career. He is the 12th-highest scorer in Arkansas history. Modica ranks second in school history for most career points in Southeastern Conference play. He averaged more than 13 points per game for his career and led Arkansas to an 18-12 mark in 2005, and a 22-10 record and into the NCAA Tournament in 2006. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Arkansas.
Cook and her husband Mark have coached the Razorbacks to eight straight NCAA appearances in the nine years of the program’s existence. She guided junior Jaime Pisani to three more All-America honors this season to set a school record of nine for her career. The Razorbacks ended the 2010 season tied for ninth in the nation after finishing fourth in the NCAA Championship Session I Semifinal. The 2011 team recorded 11 wins over top 25 opponents, tied for the SEC regular-season title at 5-1, won the NCAA North Central Regional championship for Arkansas’ second regional title in three years, and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the fifth time in six years, including the fourth consecutive season. Arkansas’ five NCAA Championship appearances already rank 18th in the nation while that total over the nine-year history of the program, since 2003, ranks 12th in the country. Cook earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1993.
Along with Cook and Modica, two gymnasts (Molly Lewis and Michelle Stout) and four Razorback basketball student-athletes (Jemal Farmer, Delvon Johnson, Jeff Peterson, Michael Sanchez) are set to graduate with their bachelor’s degrees.
The commencement ceremony for at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday inside Bud Walton Arena.