Nearly 30 student-athletes receiving diplomas this weekend

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Twenty-nine Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 21, on the University Park campus.

Student-athletes representing 12 Penn State squads are on the approved to graduate list, including seven members of the football team, four members of the No. 2 women’s volleyball team and three members of the Big Ten champion men’s soccer team.

The four women’s volleyball squad members approved to graduate: Maddie Martin, Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott and Katie Slay; will lead Penn State (33-2) into Saturday’s NCAA Championship match vs. No. 12 seed Wisconsin. Coach Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions will be seeking their sixth NCAA crown since 1999. The clash begins at 9:30 p.m. at KeyArena in Seattle and will air on ESPN2, 1390 AM in State College and

Felix Aronovich (men’s gymnastics), Tani Costa (women’s soccer), Casimir Loxsom (men’s track and field), Lexi Marton (women’s soccer), Amy Modglin (women’s swimming and diving), Luis Montesinos (baseball), Grant Warming (men’s soccer) and Lauren Yao (softball) also are among the student-athletes scheduled to graduate this weekend.

Offensive linemen Garry Gilliam, Adam Gress and Eric Shrive are among the seven football student-athletes scheduled to receive their diplomas on Saturday. Gress is earning his second undergraduate degree and Gilliam is graduating with degrees in management and advertising/public relations. Punter Alex Butterworth, wide receiver Alex Kenney, fullback Pat Zerbe and Evan Hailes from the football team also are approved to graduate.

With the seven graduates this weekend, 15 of the Penn State football team’s 17 seniors will have earned their degrees, with the remaining two on schedule to graduate in 2014.

Penn State student-athletes, who have earned 11 Big Ten Championships the past three semesters, continue to graduate well above their peers nationwide, earning consistently outstanding academic performances:

-- A total of 83 Penn State student-athletes from seven fall sports earned 2013 Academic All-Big Ten accolades, the Nittany Lions’ second-highest total in their 21 years as Big Ten members

-- The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide in October revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 81 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2003-04 through 2006-07

-- The NCAA data in October also showed the four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 65 percent, and tied for second among Big Ten Conference institutions

Penn State Athletics is on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Media Contacts: 
Last Updated December 20, 2013