More than 100 student-athletes set to graduate

May 08, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- More than 100 Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during Commencement exercises this weekend on the University Park campus. Nittany Lion student-athletes from 26 of 27 programs (track and field/cross country are combined) have been approved to receive their diplomas.

A total of 101 student-athletes, the second-highest in school history, as well as 18 members of the cheerleading squad and four members of the Lionettes dance team, are on the approved to graduate list. The 101 total is second-highest in Penn State history to the 109 graduates in May, 2013, and in increase in five from last year's 96 graduates.

The Nittany Lion wrestlers top the list with 11 individuals receiving their diplomas. Many of Sanderson's wrestlers were part of at least three, if not four, national championship teams.

Among the Penn State student-athletes who are graduating are: Matt Brown (wrestling), a three-time All-American, Elite 89 Award recipient and 2015 NCAA National Champion at 174-pounds; Clarisse Luminet (women's fencing), a three-time All-American; and Maya Hayes (women's soccer), also a three-time All-American.

Also scheduled to graduate are 21 Penn State student-athletes whose teams have captured NCAA Championships during their careers, including 11 wrestlers, two women's volleyball players and eight fencers (four men and four women).

Nearly 20 Penn State student-athletes set to receive their diplomas have earned All-American honors, including Brown, Dylan Alton and Jimmy Lawson (wrestling); Luminet (fencing); Hayes (women's soccer); Craig Hernandez, Nestor Rodriguez and Tristan Duverglas (men's gymnastics); Laura Gebhart and Taylor Herold (field hockey); Caitlyn Karr, Katelyn Miller and Megan Siverling (women's swimming); and Tatum Coffey, Kelly Lechner and Maggie McCormick (women's lacrosse).

Seven members from three different Penn State teams are set to matriculate, including women's lacrosse, women's outdoor track and baseball. Six athletes from four teams (field hockey, football, men's hockey and men's lacrosse) are also set to graduate. The six football graduates includes placekicker Sam Ficken, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, who brought a 3.59 grade-point average in finance into the spring semester.

Also scheduled to graduate this weekend is former cornerback Stephon Morris, who was a senior on the 2012 football squad. He finished his telecommunications degree through Penn State's award-winning online World Campus.

Last October, 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. The 89 percent figure was second-highest, to Northwestern, among Big Ten Conference institutions.

Penn State student-athletes, who have the Nittany Lions ranked No. 2 in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings and have captured a conference-leading 19 Big Ten Championships and five NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the most successful in the nation in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

- Penn State student-athletes shattered school records during the 2014 fall semester, including a record 500 earning a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Among the 500 Nittany Lion student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 GPA, a school record 241garnered Dean's List honors by posting a GPA of 3.50 or higher. The combined average GPA was 3.08 among Penn State's 31 varsity sports during the fall semester.

- Penn State's 70 winter Academic All-Big Ten selections brought its 2014-15 total to 142 academic all-conference honorees (from 15 sports). Seventy-two student-athletes earned Fall Academic All-Big Ten honors.

- During the 2013-14 academic year, Penn State had 285 academic all-conference honorees, its second-highest total all-time;

- Penn State's 186 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time ranks No. 3 among Division I institutions.  

Last Updated May 08, 2015