Record 109 Penn State student-athletes graduate over weekend


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A record total of more than 100 Penn State student-athletes graduated during Commencement exercises this past weekend on the University Park campus. Student-athletes from 26 of Penn State’s 27 programs (men’s and women’s track and field/cross-country are combined) have been approved to receive their diplomas.

A record 109 student-athletes, as well as seven members of the cheerleading squad and five members of the National Champion Lionettes dance team, were on the approved to graduate list. A record 18 football student-athletes, seven of whom have eligibility for the 2013 season, were among the 109 graduates.

Among the Penn State student-athletes who are graduating are Petra Januskova (women’s tennis) and John Urschel (football), recipients of the 2013 Ernest B. McCoy Award. Owning a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, Urschel is earning his master’s degree in mathematics four years after enrolling in the University.

Also among the spring graduates are Quentin Wright (Wingate), the Nittany Lion wrestling team’s two-time NCAA Champion, and All-American women’s gymnast Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

Among the other graduates were eight student-athletes whose teams have captured NCAA Championships during their careers, including Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi (fencing); Marika Racibarskas (women’s volleyball); and Wright, James English, Nick Fischer, Bryan Pearsall, Derek Reber and David Taylor from wrestling (Taylor returns in 2013-14 for his final year of eligibility and English has received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA).

The Nittany Lion football team had 18 players graduating, seven of whom have eligibility for the 2013 season. In addition to Urschel, among the other football graduates are returnees Nate Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio), Glenn Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.), Adam Gress (West Mifflin), Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (Bronx, N.Y.) and Malcolm Willis (Marbury, Md.). All-Big Ten defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton), who was selected by Seattle in the third round of last week’s NFL Draft, also graduated this weekend.

Four members of the Nittany Lion basketball team and two members of the Lady Lion basketball team were approved to graduate this weekend. From the men’s basketball team: Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia), Nick Colella (New Castle), Billy Oliver (Chatham, N.J.) and 2013-14 returnee Tim Frazier (Houston). The Lady Lions approved to graduate were Gizelle Studevent (LaJolla, Calif.) and Marisa Wolfe (Ford City).

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 39 Big Ten Championships since 2005-06 and a 12 NCAA titles since March 2007, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees.  Among some of Penn State’s recent academic accolades are:

- The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed in October 2012 that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to a 80 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2002-03 through 2005-06.

- The 2012 NCAA data showed the four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten Conference institutions.

- The 2012 NCAA graduation data also revealed that student-athletes from five Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent and 10 additional teams were at 90 percent or higher for a total of 15 out of 25 teams (cross-country/track and field combined).

- A record total of 100 Penn State student-athletes from seven fall sports earned 2012 Academic All-Big Ten accolades, the highest total in the conference. A total of 64 Nittany Lion student-athletes from winter sports earned Academic all-conference honors to bring Penn State's total to 164 honorees thus far in 2012-13 (spring and at-large to be announced).

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Last Updated July 11, 2014