Twenty-seven student-athletes receiving diplomas at fall commencement

December 19, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Twenty-seven Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 20 on the University Park campus.

Student-athletes representing 11 Penn State squads are on the approved to graduate list, including 10 members of the football team, three members men's soccer and men's track and field programs and two members of the field hockey, women's soccer and women's volleyball squads.

The two women's volleyball squad members approved to graduate - All-Americans Nia Grant and Micha Hancock - will lead Penn State (35-3) into Saturday's NCAA Championship match vs. unseeded BYU. Coach Russ Rose's Nittany Lions will be seeking their sixth NCAA crown since 2007 and seventh overall. The clash begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and will air on ESPN2, 103.1 FM in State College and www.GoPSUsports.com.

Natalie Buttinger and Kylie Licata (field hockey), Robby Creese (men's track and field), Connor Curry (men's volleyball), Emily Hurd (women's soccer), Andrew Wolverton (men's soccer) also are among the student-athletes scheduled to graduate this weekend.

Seniors Adrian Amos and Tyrone Smith are among the 10 football student-athletes scheduled to receive their diplomas on Saturday, with classmates Jesse Della Valle and Miles Dieffenbach earning their second undergraduate degrees. Juniors Deion Barnes, Kyle Carter, Ben Kline, Angelo Mangiro, Donovan Smith and Matt Zanellato also are approved to graduate.

With its eight first-time graduates this weekend, 17 Penn State football student-athletes will have earned their degrees prior to the Dec. 27 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Penn State student-athletes, who captured a conference-best 17 Big Ten Championships and four NCAA titles the past two-plus years, consistently are among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees and academic achievement. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:

- In October, the NCAA reported that Penn State student-athletes continue to graduate well above their peers nationwide, earning outstanding academic performances. The NCAA's annual study of institutions across the nation revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to the 82 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2004-05 through the 2007-08 academic year. The 89 percent figure was just one point off Penn State's 90 percent record mark from the 2010 NCAA report;

- Seventy-two Penn State student-athletes earned Fall Academic All-Big Ten honors. During the 2013-14 academic year, Penn State had 285 academic all-conferece honorees, its second-highest total all-time.

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Last Updated December 19, 2014