Pair of Vandy Legends Earn Undergraduate Degrees

Pedro Alvarez, Damian Jones officially become alumni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A pair of Vanderbilt Athletics legend completed their undergraduate degrees this academic year.

Damian Jones and Pedro Alvarez each recently became Vanderbilt alums and participated in graduation ceremonies. Jones, a former basketball star, completed his degree in engineering science while Alvarez, a standout on the baseball diamond, graduated with a degree in medicine, health and society.

“I’ve been able to do a lot of things on the field,” Alvarez told the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Getting that degree is pretty high up there on my list of accomplishments.’’

Now a part of the Milwaukee Brewers organization in the player development office, Alvarez was the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2008 MLB Draft. His career as a Commodore included a single-season home run record (22), a national Freshman of the Year honor, an SEC Tournament MVP award and a selection as an All-American.

The Dominican Republic native went on to play nine seasons in the MLB and was a 2013 National League All-Star. He returned to Vanderbilt in 2021 to take classes in the spring, summer and fall semesters before graduating in December.

“Coach (Tim) Corbin did a great job emphasizing the importance of time management,” Alvarez told “But you kind of live a double life. School doesn’t care about baseball and baseball doesn’t care about school, except that your grades affect whether you can play. Going back as an adult and finishing my degree, I can really see how difficult it is to be a student-athlete. I think it’s one of the hardest things to do.”



Jones, who also minored in engineering management, officially graduated in the spring of 2021 before participating in commencement ceremonies this month. The 6-foot-11, 245-pound forward averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds during the 2021-22 season for the Sacramento Kings.

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, product, Jones came to Vanderbilt in 2013 and developed into a first-team All-SEC selection. He became the 30th overall pick (Golden State) in the 2016 NBA Draft.