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MONARCH SPOTLIGHT: Ronnie Cameron - Degree in Hand

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: May 27, 2010
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May 27, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. -- There's a saying, "you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it," but rising redshirt junior Ronnie Cameron is living proof of the old adage. Setting out with a goal to receive his undergraduate degree in three years and receive his master's degree before his collegiate playing days are over, Cameron finds himself halfway there. The Monarch defensive tackle, who is wrapping up his undergraduate degree this summer, walked in Hofstra's graduation ceremony this spring with nearly 30 family members in attendance and joining several of his former teammates.

Cameron, who transferred to the upstart Monarch football program after Hofstra disbanded the team following the fall of 2009, will be working on his Masters of Business Administration degree this fall after completing his BA in Information Technology in just three years.

"It was a big accomplishment the fact I was able to get my degree in three years, but that was my plan out of high school," noted the goal-oriented Cameron. "A few weeks before graduation I didn't think it was a big deal, but then my family members and friends were reminding me that I accomplished something that some people don't get to do or that people can't even do in four years and that I did it in three. When I sat down and thought about it, this was a huge accomplishment. I set my goal and I completed it. It was such a good feeling."

Cameron is no stranger to challenging himself academically. When some people fall into "senioritis" and relax during their final year in high school, Cameron was busy taking advanced placement and college courses that would in turn give him collegiate credit. Then once on campus, Cameron found himself taking 18 credits a semester, every semester, and even paid for classes outside his scholarship to accomplish his goal of graduating in three years. He even joked about his numerous Sundays in the library where he was the one getting kicked out as it closed.

"For me to do this, I knew I was going to have to sacrifice, especially with a difficult major like mine," said Cameron of his studies. "It was definitely tough at times. There were days and times where I said to myself `I can't do this' and that I could just graduate when I'm supposed to, but I wanted to say I got my two degrees within the five years of football."

To top it off, Cameron found himself in a whole new environment both athletically and academically in the spring of 2010. Last December, Hofstra University voted to eliminate the FCS program leaving Cameron without a team, but with his ambition to play football and get a degree at the same time, he chose to transfer to Old Dominion to reach that goal.

"I could have gone to other places that have been established, but I came here to hopefully be a part of something special," Cameron said of his choice to attend Old Dominion. "I feel like this is going to be a special program here so I thought why not be one of those people that 10, 20 years from now looks back on being able to help build the program to the way it is."

It was a tough and trying semester for Cameron, adjusting to not only the transfer and playing spring ball, but in taking classes in his senior semester, where some of the hardest classes of the Information Technology major lie. Becoming a staple in study hall and spending hours in the library paid off as Cameron was named to the Dean's list with 3.8 grade point average.

"From a young age, my parents (Ronnie and Ritha) taught me `what's the point of doing something if you are not going to be the best at it?'. So if I try to be the best possible football player I can be, why not be the best possible student I can be?" said Cameron of his success in the classroom. "If I'm doing something, why not put your heart into it and have no regrets. That's what I tried to do this past semester and with everything I do with school and football."

"Ronnie Cameron is everything we want with ODU football as a person, a student, and an athlete," said Monarch head football coach Bobby Wilder. "He has engaged himself with kids in the community, he is a dean's list student, he is a proven player in the CAA and we are looking for big things from Ronnie in 2010."

Cameron figures to be a key figure in the Monarchs game plan this fall as the Monarchs raise the bar in their level of competition with the 2010 slate. While at Hofstra, Cameron totaled 39 tackles including 26 last season en-route to earning CAA Academic All-Conference and Hofstra Athletics Academic Honor Roll honors while playing against competition in the toughest FCS conference in the country.

"Playing professionally would be a dream of mine, but I have yet to make it a solid goal," said Cameron of his future. "I have to do that through my play the next few years and that's what's going to be able to make it a goal. But in terms of a goal for the future, I would love to work for the government or a corporation in the world of information technology and help expand a company's IT resources. Playing professionally is a dream, but a straight forward goal is to work within my field."

Cameron has his goals for the future, but for right now it's getting his master's degree and helping to continue to build the foundation of ODU football.

"Everyone wants to be remembered," he said of joining the Monarchs. "You don't want to be another name on a list or be forgotten. You want to be remembered for doing good things and helping other people accomplish things. That's part of why I came here."

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