Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics will highlight the varied and numerous achievements by its 800 student-athletes during the first STATE of Excellence Week, set for September 26-October 1.
The Nittany Lions will celebrate four aspects of student-athlete success and experience -- cultural, social, academic and athletic -- with a different facet highlighted each day from Sept. 26-29. The week will culminate with team and individual champions being recognized at the Minnesota football game in Beaver Stadium on October 1 (3:30 p.m. kick).
The diversity of Penn State's student-athletes, the recent international trips taken by Nittany Lion teams and the University's study abroad programs will be highlighted. During the past year, Penn State squads have made cultural and competitive trips to Canada, Cuba, Greece and The Netherlands.
Penn State student-athletes' commitment to academic excellence and the support provided by The Morgan Academic Center and ICA staff, faculty, fans and donors will be feted. The Athletics staff will gather for a celebration of academic achievements in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The 2015-16 academic year saw seven school academic records broken by Penn State student- athletes, including:
516 student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average during the fall 2015 semester (63 percent, also a record)
229 Academic All-Big Ten honorees (3.0 GPA and a letterwinner)
81 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (3.7 GPA and a letterwinner)
Record-tying 109 graduates following the 2016 spring semester.
Penn State student-athletes' commitment to athletic excellence will be discussed during a Coaches panel that is open to the public. The panel will include coaches Erica Dambach (women's soccer), Wes Glon (fencing) and Cael Sanderson, all of whom have captured NCAA Championships in the past two years. Women's rugby head coach Kate Daley also will be a panelist after guiding Penn State to the 2016 USA Rugby College 15s national title, its fifth consecutive crown.
The Coaches panel will be held at the Penn State All-Sports Museum from 7:15-8:00 p.m., hosted by Steve Jones, the voice of the Nittany Lions. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and parking is available in Lot 44, just south of Beaver Stadium.