Former Midway ISD star graduates college, receives degree in between doubleheader for UT Tyler baseball team
TYLER, Texas (KWTX) - A former Midway baseball star graduated college this weekend, but instead of crossing the stage, he crossed home plate.
Riley Lambert, 22, received his Bachelor of Business in Finance from the University of Texas at Tyler on his home field, in uniform, in between a double-header for his baseball team.
The traditional commencement ceremony for students happened nearby in the arena around the same time Tyler was playing for the UT Tyler baseball team.
“It just made it really special because this is where I spend most of my time, on the baseball field,” Lambert said. “I spend most of my time with these teammates, these coaches, my family, and to have just that smaller group that I’m always with and still be able to have my family there as well, just made it so special.”
UT Tyler rolled out the red carpet for Riley and seven other teammates who were able to invite their families to attend the non traditional ceremony.
The families were able to do what they’ve done for years: cheer from the stands.
The school’s president Dr. Kirk Calhoun president over the ceremony dressed in his regalia as he called the student’s names over a loudspeaker. Each student athlete then walked from the dugout to the field to receive their diploma.
“They had the president come out after the first game about 2 o’clock and he announced our names and our degrees,” Lambert said.
Assistant Coach Taylor White said watching Lambert receive his degree on the diamond was a proud moment.
“I am so proud of Riley for graduating from The University of Texas at Tyler,” White said. “It is extra special to get to watch him do it on the baseball field. It is so important to us that these guys get their degree, and Riley has excelled on the baseball field and in the classroom in his time here at UT Tyler.”
Lambert, whose mom Nikki Rhea said once wrote a letter to himself in first grade saying he wanted to be a baseball player, has had a lot of proud moments in his career.
The 2018 Midway graduate was named the district’s MVP and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.
He was named 1st Team All-District, All-Academic and was chosen for the Zack Duke MVP award at Midway.
Lambert was selected to play in the state High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Team for all 6A high schools.
He also played for Team Texas in the Junior Sunbelt Classic where he made the All-Tournament team.
The Waco Tribune Herald named Lambert to the Super Centex All-Decade Team.
Lambert first attended Navarro Junior College in Corsicana before transferring to UT Tyler and it’s a move White says he’s glad Lambert made.
“He is the model student athlete that we are very proud of,” White said.
Lambert plans to pursue an MBA at UT Tyler while playing baseball next season in his last year of athletic eligibility.
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