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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State student-athletes have smashed another academic record, with 81 Nittany Lions earning Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Awards for the 2015-16 academic year.
The school record total is an increase of 12 from last year's total of 69 (+14.8%) and easily eclipsed the previous mark of 73 honorees in 2013-14. Penn State's four highest Distinguished Scholar totals have come in the past four years.
The Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award is presented to student-athletes who have recorded a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher during the previous academic year and are letterwinners. (Complete list of Penn State honorees below).
The 81 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars continues what has been a record-setting year for Penn State student-athletes, including: 516 students with a 3.0 grade-point average during the 2015 fall semester, 299 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and a record-tying 109 graduates in May.
The Nittany Lions' 81 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2015-16 were second-highest in the conference.
Penn State's highest Big Ten Distinguished Scholar totals:
Nine of the 81 Nittany Lion student-athletes posted perfect 4.0 grade point averages this past year: Tomas Hanzlik, men's tennis; Lauren Kenney, women's track and field; Haley Kerstetter, field hockey; Geno Morelli, wrestling; Emily Ogle, women's soccer; Noah Roberson, men's gymnastics; Abby Smucker, women's lacrosse; Sarah Jane Underwood, women's track and field and Devon Van Cura, wrestling.
Also among Penn State's Distinguished Scholars were five members of the NCAA Champion wrestling team, including first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and 2016 national champion, Nico Megaludis. Four members of the Nittany Lions' NCAA Women's Soccer Championship squad were Distinguished Scholars, including 2016 co-captain Megan Schafer, as were CoSIDA Academic All-Americans Haleigh Washington (women's volleyball) and Tyler Yazujian (football).
Twenty-seven of Penn State's 31 programs had at least one Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. The women's hockey team topped the Nittany Lions' list with 10 recipients. The women's swimming and diving squad had nine honorees, women's track and field had eight, women's lacrosse had six and the softball and wrestling teams had five recipients apiece.
The Nittany Lions have had 507 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars since the program was established by the Big Ten Faculty Representatives in 2008-09 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program.
Similar to the Academic All-Big Ten honor, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution. The Distinguished Scholar Award encompasses only students with a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year, excluding summer school.
The record 81 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars adds to another banner academic and athletic year for Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Nittany Lion student-athletes, who have captured 24 Big Ten Championships and seven NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the most successful in the nation in earning their degrees and academic success. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:
- A school record 299 student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2015-16, eclipsing the previous high of 296 from 2012-13. In addition to the overall record, Nittany Lion student-athletes broke school marks for winter (79) and spring/at-large (140) honorees. Penn State leads all Big Ten institutions with 5,576 Academic all-conference honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports.
- During the 2015 fall semester, a school record 516 of the approximately 800 Penn State student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA (63 percent). A spring semester record 482 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA during the most recent semester.
- Four Penn State student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2015-16: Nico Megaludis (wrestling), Zain Retherford (wrestling), Haleigh Washington (women's volleyball) and Tyler Yazujian (football). Penn State's 193 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time rank No. 4 among Division I institutions.
- A school record-tying 109 Penn State student-athletes graduated this past spring. Including the 2015 fall semester, 140 Nittany Lions had earned their diplomas this year as of May, with approximately 15 more on schedule to graduate in August.
- In April, the NCAA reported that four Penn State teams have perfect four-year Academic Progress Rate scores of 1,000 and that 13 Nittany Lion squads earned perfect APR scores in 2014-15, up from 10 the previous year.
- 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 88 percent compared to the 83 percent average for all Division I institutions.
Penn State's 2015-16 Distinguished Scholar Award recipients (4.0 GPA students in bold):
|William Cather||So.||Business Administration||Men's Cross Country/T&F|
|Conrad Lippert||Sr.||Finance||Men's Cross Country/T&F|
|Cara Ulizio||Jr.||Supply Chain and Information Systems||Women's Cross Country/T&F|
|Karl Oskar Tang||Jr.||Industrial Engineering||Men's Fencing|
|Brianne Cavaliere||Sr.||Animal Sciences||Women's Fencing|
|Clarisse Luminet||Gr.||Educational Theory and Policy||Women's Fencing|
|Carly Celko||Jr.||Rehabilitation and Human Services||Field Hockey|
|Haley Kerstetter||Sr.||Advertising/Public Relations||Field Hockey|
|Ben Kline||Gr.||International Affairs||Football|
|Tyler Yazujian||Sr.||Security and Risk Analysis||Football|
|Halley Morel||Sr.||Communication Arts and Sciences||Women's Golf|
|Noah Roberson||So.||Engineering||Men's Gymnastics|
|Nicole Medvitz||Jr.||Management||Women's Gymnastics|
|Briannah Tsang||So.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Gymnastics|
|David Thompson||Jr.||Finance||Men's Hockey|
|Michael Williamson||Jr.||Kinesiology||Men's Hockey|
|Jeanette Bateman||Sr.||Accounting||Women's Hockey|
|Laura Bowman||Jr.||Biochemistry and Molecular Biology||Women's Hockey|
|Hannah Ehresmann||So.||Business Administration||Women's Hockey|
|Paige Jahnke||Sr.||Communication Arts and Sciences||Women's Hockey|
|Emily Laurenzi||Sr.||Recreation, Park and Tourism Management||Women's Hockey|
|Remi Martin||So.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Hockey|
|Jordin Pardoski||Sr.||Human Development and Family Studies||Women's Hockey|
|Amy Petersen||Jr.||Risk Management||Women's Hockey|
|Kelly Seward||Jr.||Geography||Women's Hockey|
|Sarah Wilkie||Sr.||Health Policy and Administration||Women's Hockey|
|Hunter Pearl||So.||Division of Undergraduate Studies||Men's Lacrosse|
|T.J. Sanders||Sr.||Supply Chain and Information Systems||Men's Lacrosse|
|Taylor Bleistein||Jr.||Criminology||Women's Lacrosse|
|McKenna Coyle||So.||Business Administration||Women's Lacrosse|
|Madison Day||So.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Lacrosse|
|Katie O'Donnell||So.||Communications||Women's Lacrosse|
|Abby Smucker||Jr.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Lacrosse|
|Shelby Wells||Jr.||Kinesiology||Women's Lacrosse|
|Sam Bollinger||Jr.||Chemistry||Men's Soccer|
|Kyle MacDonald||Sr.||Architectural Engineering||Men's Soccer|
|Brittany Basinger||Jr.||Kinesiology||Women's Soccer|
|Teddy Chase||Sr.||Animal Sciences||Women's Soccer|
|Emily Ogle||So.||Health and Human Development||Women's Soccer|
|Megan Schafer||So.||Communication Sciences and Disorders||Women's Soccer|
|Reina Furuya||Sr.||Energy Business and Finance||Softball|
|Shannon Good||Sr.||Chemical Engineering||Softball|
|Erin Pond||Sr.||Recreation, Park and Tourism Management||Softball|
|Christy Von Pusch||Sr.||Supply Chain and Information Systems||Softball|
|Matthew Grillo||Sr.||Journalism||Men's Swimming/Diving|
|Alyson Ackman||Sr.||Kinesiology||Women's Swimming/Diving>|
|Tommie Dillione||So.||Division of Undergraduate Studies||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Mackenzie Hornibrook||Jr.||Supply Chain and Information Systems||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|McKayla Mawn||So.||Science||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Tara Rogers||So.||Health and Human Development||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Katie Saloky||Jr.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Haley Sinatro||Sr.||Biology||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Katelyn Sowinski||Jr.||Biobehavioral Health||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Chelsea VanderWeele||Sr.||Marketing||Women's Swimming/Diving|
|Tomas Hanzlik||Sr.||Accounting||Men's Tennis|
|Aws Laaribi||Jr.||Economics||Men's Tennis|
|Christian Lutschaunig||Jr.||Accounting||Men's Tennis|
|Hannah Kratky||So.||Communications||Women's Tennis|
|Kelly Mengel||So.||Communications||Women's Tennis|
|Samantha Tutelman||Jr.||Finance||Women's Tennis|
|Katherine Whiteaway||Sr.||Kinesiology||Women's Tennis|
|Tessa Barrett||So.||Division of Undergraduate Studies||Women's Track & Field|
|Tal Ben-Artzi||Jr.||Psychology||Women's Track & Field|
|Rachael DeCecco||So.||Engineering||Women's Track & Field|
|Lauren Kenney||Sr.||Kinesiology||Women's Track & Field|
|Megan McCloskey||So.||Communications||Women's Track & Field|
|Megan Osborne||Jr.||Rehabilitation and Human Services||Women's Track & Field|
|Tichina Rhodes||Jr.||Rehabilitation and Human Services||Women's Track & Field|
|Sarah Jane Underwood||Sr.||Supply Chain and Information Systems||Women's Track & Field|
|Lara Caraway||Sr.||Kinesiology||Women's Volleyball|
|Taylor Krause||Jr.||Childhood and Early Adolescent Education||Women's Volleyball|
|Carley Muller||Jr.||Advertising/Public Relations||Women's Volleyball|
|Haleigh Washington||So.||Philosophy||Women's Volleyball|
|Geno Morelli||Sr.||Energy Business and Finance||Wrestling|
|Kade Moss||Jr.||Risk Management||Wrestling|
|Jason Nolf||So.||Health and Human Development||Wrestling|
|Devon Van Cura||So.||Science||Wrestling|