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KNHS "Major of the Year" Taylor Hurst

Taylor Hurst '12, KNHS Major of the YearDuring the Kinesiology & Health Sciences department's graduation ceremony Taylor Hurst was honored with the "Major of the Year" award. She received a check for $1000.00 from the Borgenicht Endowment, a certificate, and a medal. Below is the introduction given by the Chair, Michael Deschenes, and Taylor Hurst’s speech to the graduating class of 2012.

 Michael Deschenes

This year’s Kinesiology & Health Sciences major of the year likely would have been named major of the year by any department across campus. Not only is she an outstanding student, as evidenced by her selection to Phi Beta Kappa, but more importantly she is an outstanding person. An example of her commitment to helping others is her regular participation in visits to Central America to help with health concerns of some of the neediest people in this hemisphere. The fact6 that she speaks Spanish fluently makes her an invaluable member of these visiting teams of W&M students. She is held in exceptionally high regard by everyone that knows her, both her classmates and members of the faculty. Unanimously, it is understood that she will make a difference in the world. We are pleased and proud to name Taylor Hurst as this year’s Kinesiology & Health Sciences major of the year.

Taylor Hurst

When they first asked me to speak today about what it means to be a Kinesiology major, I was hesitant, to say the least. I was hesitant not only because of my shameless fear of public speaking, but also because I wasn’t sure if I exemplified what a Kinesiology and Health Sciences major actually was.

So, I did what any second semester college student does when they’re handed an assignment that they are not quite sure about. I put if off for 3 days, “brainstormed” for 1, and wrote it last night.

When I tell people I’m a Kinesiology major, I’m usually met with quite a bit of surprise. In fact, by the time I got to William and Mary, I had been a retired athlete for 6 years. My last experience with an organized sport involved me literally begging my middle school basketball coach, to the point of tears, not to put me in because I actually wanted to win the game. I also refused to wear goggles until I was 12 because I was afraid of what I might see under the water. It’s no surprise that, even to this day, I have never been in the Adair pool.

Although I wish I had been blessed with better hand-eye coordination or really any athletic ability at all, anyone sitting here knows that Kinesiology isn’t just about being an athlete -- that is, unless you’re a baseball player in Kohl’s motor learning class.

Kinesiology and Health Sciences represents a broad spectrum of individuals. There are pre-PTs and athletic trainers who had to abandon all regard for personal space when performing a body fat analysis or urine analysis in Harris’ exercise physiology lab. There are the pre-meds; those of us who bonded over a mutual distaste of formaldehyde yet held a simultaneous fascination with the anatomy of the human body. And there are the public health students whose study of disease and its transmission through populations exemplifies the most interesting form of late night reading.

So why did I choose Kinesiology then? Well, when I was looking at colleges it came down to two wonderful Virginia schools and one very specific reason for choosing William and Mary.  In fact, my deciding factor is lying in the basement of this building right now. Cadavers. The prospect of a human anatomy lab was more then enough of a reason for me.

There are many unique paths that led us to our seats in Adair Hall this Sunday afternoon. While dead bodies may not be everyone’s reason, I think that there is one thing we all share. We’ve learned how things work. Through our anatomy, biomechanics, and countless physiology classes, we’ve explored the complexities of the human body and analyzed the basics of survival.  This curiosity is something we all share and something that I hope persists even after the inevitable celebrations at the Green Leafe tonight and long drives home tomorrow morning.

On the behalf of everyone here, I would like to thank the faculty. You have all been such welcoming, caring, and thoughtful professors. After all, we’ve survived the countless PowerPoint, long labs, and many, many exams and today, we’ve finally made it to the fun part.  

Congratulations, and thank you so much.