DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke student-athletes Dorian Cohen, Kaitlyn O’Connor, Rowland Pettit and Dylan Ryan were awarded Obremskey and C.T. Moorman II Scholarships from the Bassett Society the weekend of September 29. The four Blue Devils, who were also honored during Duke’s home football game against Virginia Tech, are currently pursuing post-graduate degrees in medicine.
Cohen is one of the most decorated men’s fencers in Duke history, advancing to the NCAA Championships during all four years of competition while earning All-America honors three times. Also an Academic All-America selection as a senior, Cohen posted a 183-53 (.775) record during his tenure, finished among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships twice and put together two 50-win seasons.
O'Connor, a Wake Forest, N.C., native, was a former captain and four-year member of the Duke cheerleading squad. She received her degree in Psychology with minors in Biology and Chemistry from Duke in 2015. At the conclusion of the 2014-15 Duke men's basketball season, which culminated with the Blue Devils winning the NCAA Championship, O'Conner was named recipient of the Harry Rainey Spirit Award for most outstanding cheerleader. O'Connor spent her final three years as a member of the Blue Squad.
A four-year member of the men's lacrosse team, Pettit was a tireless worker and voted a team captain by his peers as a senior. Overall in his four seasons, he played in 29 games as a close defenseman and helped Duke to a four-year record of 56-22. As a member of the invaluable blue squad, the Forth Worth, Texas, native also was instrumental in helping Duke to win consecutive NCAA titles in 2013 and 2014. An outstanding student and leader off the field as well, Rowland was a four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member.
Ryan was the consummate team leader in his four seasons on the Duke wrestling team. His work ethic in and outside the wrestling room were instrumental in pushing Duke wrestling to where it stands today, as a top 25 NCAA team. During his time in Durham, Ryan not only had a profound impact on his teammates, but on the university as a whole as he started the Duke chapter of Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies like Ryan in the various athletic communities all over the world. Ryan's impact was so great, Duke wrestling head coach Glen Lanham started “The Dylan Ryan Rhino 11th Man Award” in 2015. The honor is given annually to the wrestler whose leadership and work is felt in all facets of the program.
Named for longtime Duke Athletics physician Dr. Frank Bassett, the Bassett Society was established in 1985 to aid Duke student-athletes in their pursuit of careers in medicine and dentistry. In addition, the group provides education in the medical and dental fields while encouraging scientific research primarily related to medical complications arising from competitive sports.
Bassett, who passed away in 2007, joined the Duke Medical Center in 1963 and served in several capacities including Director of the Sports Medicine Center, head team physician for Duke Athletics and professor of orthopaedic surgery. He was a founding member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Born November 19, 1928 in Hopkinsville, Ky., Bassett earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky in 1950 and 1951, respectively, where he played football under legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. After spending time in the U.S. military during the Korean conflict, he graduated from the University of Louisville school of medicine in 1957 and later served his orthopaedic residency at Duke in the early 1960s.