Students from 30 Teams Scheduled to Receive Diplomas; Women’s Basketball Alumnus Lisa Salters Giving Bellisario College of Communications Commencement Address

May 5, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.– A school record 114 Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during Commencement exercises this weekend on the University Park campus. Nittany Lion students from 30 programs have been approved to receive their diplomas.

The 114 Lions on the approved to graduate list breaks the previous mark of 109, set during the 2013 spring semester and tied last year. Including the 2016 fall semester, a total of 142 student-athletes have earned their diplomas thus far in 2016-17, with additional graduates in August.

Thanks to the efforts of the student-athletes, the Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty, coaches and staff, the 142 Nittany Lion graduates through the spring semester are pacing ahead of the totals from the past two years. In 2015-16, 140 Nittany Lion students had graduated by May and two years the total was 128 through the spring semester.

A total of 17 Penn State student-athletes who have helped lead teams to NCAA Championships since 2013-14 are listed among those approved to graduate, including members of the men’s and women’s fencing, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling teams.

Five Penn State teams have seven students on the approved to graduate list: baseball, football, men’s lacrosse, women’s swimming and diving and women’s track and field. Six members of the women’s lacrosse and men’s track and field teams are scheduled to receive their diplomas as are five members of the men’s gymnastics, men’s hockey, women’s hockey and women’s tennis squads.

In addition, former Penn State women’s basketball student-athlete Lisa Salters is giving the commencement address at Saturday’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications ceremony. Salters is an award-winning reporter with ESPN and was on the sidelines for Thursday night’s NBA playoff game hosted by the Golden State Warriors.

Graduation ceremonies for all Penn State students are this weekend, May 5-7, at The Bryce Jordan Center, Eisenhower Auditorium and Pegula Ice Arena. For a full schedule of this spring’s graduation ceremonies go to:

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 30 Big Ten Championships and conference-best eight NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the nation’s most successful in earning their degrees. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:

  • Three Penn State teams recently received an NCAA Public Recognition Award for earning high scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation, including two of the Nittany Lions’ most recent NCAA Championship squads. The three teams — women’s tennis, women’s volleyball and wrestling — earned multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport through the 2015-16 academic year (data from 2012-13 through 2015-16).
  • The wrestling team was among six squads nationwide to win an NCAA team championship and a Public Recognition Award in 2015-16.
  • In November 2016, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to the 84 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2006-07 through the 2009-10 academic year. The 89 percent graduation figure was just one point off Penn State’s 90 percent all-time graduation record mark and one point higher than last year’s figure.
  • The 2016 NCAA data revealed student-athletes from seven Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent, an increase of two from last year’s five teams. The seven Nittany Lion squads posting perfect graduation scores were: men’s basketball, field hockey, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, men’s soccer, softball and women’s tennis.
  • During the 2016 fall semester, a school record 24 teams posted a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. A total of 498 student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA, with 223 garnering a GPA of 3.50 or higher to earn Dean’s List recognition.
  • Penn State leads all Big Ten institutions with 5,730 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports. Ohio State is second with 5,667 over the past 25 years. The Nittany Lions’ 299 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2015-16 were a school record. Student-athletes must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be a letterwinner for Academic All-Big Ten consideration.
  • Penn State has had 195 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, which ranks fifth among all NCAA institutions and fourth among Division I schools.

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