In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great. Throughout February, GopherSports.com will share short interviews with African-American alumni from almost every Gopher program. In these interviews, former student-athletes reflect on their time at the U of M, provide advice to current Gophers and share what Black History Month means to them personally.
Name: Goaner Deng
Sport(s): Men's Track & Field
Years: 2011 - 16
Hometown: Rosemount, Minn.
Occupation: Supply Chain Consultant -- Software Sales
Twitter Handle: @gdengxx
1) What is it you honestly miss most about the University?
Aside from the everyday grind that comes with being a student-athlete, I miss my teammates, coaches, and the many other connections I was blessed with over my five years at the U. The people are what made the journey such a great one.
2) If you could give the current student-athletes any piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy your time and do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, push yourself beyond athletics, and use these year to really mold and set yourself up for the future. The resources available are second-to-none at Minnesota, so it really is up to you to utilize them.
3) Please share your favorite university or athletic event you've attended since you graduated and what made it so special to you?
Since graduation I have been able to attend a couple football games, among other events, which are always a blast. What makes coming back to campus special is seeing old faces and the progress the athletics department is making as a collective. I am glad to see the Athletes Village finally coming together, too.
4) What are you grateful for?
The opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota and be a part of the Gopher family will always stick with me. Not only was the athletic experience wonderful, but I truly was able to grow as a young man in all areas of life upon leaving. For that, I am grateful.
5) What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is important to me because without the sacrifices of those who came before me, I could not possibly be where I am today. I believe it is a time to celebrate and recognize the progress we have made a people, but also continue to do our parts individually to ensure the next generation is in better position for success than us.
6) What occupies your time now?
These days a lot of my time is allocated to continuing to learn my new profession and grow where I can. Staying in touch with family and friends that are all around the country now is also at the top of the list.
Please visit Black History Month Central on Gophersports.com to see more profiles.
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