Twenty-five student-athletes receiving diplomas this weekend

December 18, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Twenty-five Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during Commencement exercises Saturday on the University Park campus.

Student-athletes representing 11 Penn State squads are on the approved to graduate list, including 2009 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-Americans Josh Hull (football) and Jason Yeisley (men's soccer). Yeisley also was the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award recipient among all the nation's senior men's soccer players.

NCAA Swimming champion Patrick Schirk is approved to graduate, as are men's gymnasts Shaun Antonio and Casey Sandy, 2009 winner of the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award.

Kelly Nelson (women's swimming and diving), Rashida Mark (Lady Lion Basketball), Kerry Shea (women's lacrosse) and Christine Dudek (field hockey) also are scheduled to graduate Saturday.

Hull and Yeisley were among five Penn State student-athletes that earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors this fall. Senior kick snapper Andrew Pitz and junior center Stefen Wisniewski from the NIttany Lion football team also earned first team accloades. Penn State has led all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in Academic All-Americans the past two years (eight total).

Outside hitter Megan Hodge, a senior All-American on the No. 1 women's volleyball team, was selected the Academic All-American of the Year for her sport. Hodge has led No. 1 Penn State (37-0) to 101 consecutive victories and into Saturday's NCAA Championship match vs. No. 2 Texas (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Nittany Lions will be seeking an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA title.

Nine members of the Nittany Lion football team are scheduled to graduate this weekend, including first team All-Big Ten honorees Daryll Clark and Dennis Landolt, who will be earning their second undergraduate degrees.

In addition to Hull, also approved to graduate are: All-America linebacker Navorro Bowman, co-captain and all-conference linebacker Sean Lee, junior wide receiver Brett Brackett, tight ends Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler and cornerback Knowledge Timmons. Sixteen Nittany Lions will have earned their degrees prior to the Capital One Bowl vs. LSU on New Year's Day in Orlando, Fla.

Penn State is consistently at or near the top nationally in the graduation of its student-athletes.

The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed in November, 2009 that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a record-tying Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to a 78 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 1999-2000 through 2002-03.

In addition to releasing each institution's overall four-year Graduation Success Rate, the NCAA also released the federal graduation rates for students and student-athletes as it has for the past 19 years. The four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 82 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 63 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten Conference institutions.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 21, 2009