Nearly 30 Penn State student-athletes graduating this weekend

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Twenty-eight Penn State student-athletes are scheduled to graduate during Fall 2016 Commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 17, on the University Park campus.

Student-athletes representing 11 Penn State squads are on the approved-to-graduate list.

The football team has 10 student-athletes on the approved-to-graduate list to lead the Penn State programs. Women’s basketball, men’s gymnastics, women’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving, men’s track and field and women’s volleyball all have student-athletes who are earning their degrees this weekend.

With the 10 new graduates this weekend from the Big Ten Champion football team, a total of 14 Penn State football student-athletes will have earned their degrees prior to the Rose Bowl vs. USC on Jan. 2. Seniors Brian Gaia, Wendy Laurent, Evan Schwan and Nyeem Wartman-White had earned their degrees prior to the start of the season.

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 27 Big Ten Championships and seven NCAA titles since the Fall 2012 semester, consistently are among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees and academic achievement. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:

— In November, 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 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.

— The NCAA also released in November the federal graduation rates for students and student-athletes as it has for the past 26 years. The four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, No. 3 among Big Ten institutions, and significantly above the 66 percent Division I average.

Penn State leads all Big Ten institutions with 5,654 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports.  Ohio State is second with 5,574 over the past 25 years. The Nittany Lions had 78 Academic All-Big Ten honorees this year among seven fall sports.

— Two Penn State student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors this fall. Nittany Lions Football’s Tyler Yazujian (Royersford, Pa.) was selected a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and women’s volleyball standout  Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was selected to the third team. Both earned their second career CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition.

Penn State has had 195 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, which ranks fifth among all NCAA institutions and fourth among Division I schools.

Last Updated December 16, 2016