BRAINS AND BRAWN: PSU student-athletes deliver record 3.15 GPA during spring semester

Penn State senior student/athletes Royce Clemens, of men's volleyball, Colin Macon, of baseball, Nicholas Distasio, of baseball, Deja Davis, of women's track and field, Hannah Catalano, of women's track and field, and Nick Scott, of football, before the College of the Liberal Arts commencement on May 5, 2018. Photo/Craig Houtz

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State student-athletes continued to elevate their academic performance during the 2018 spring semester, breaking one overall school record and tying two other marks.

Nittany Lion students combined to post an overall grade-point average of 3.15 this past spring, topping the previous mark of 3.14, set during the previous two semesters.

A school record-tying 26 teams delivered a combined 3.0 grade-point average or higher during the spring semester, accounting for 84 percent of the Nittany Lions’ 31 varsity programs. A total of 26 teams also posted a combined 3.0 GPA last fall.

A school record-tying 66 percent of student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average during the spring semester, tying the mark set during the 2017 spring semester. A total of 487 Nittany Lion students posted a 3.0 GPA or higher during the spring semester, the school’s second-highest spring total (495 in 2017).

“This excellent academic performance is a tribute to the efforts our talented and highly motivated student-athletes direct towards their academic pursuits, the priority placed on academic achievement by our coaches, and the support they receive from our outstanding Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and administration,” said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics. “Every day we are striving for comprehensive excellence and to properly prepare our students for what lies ahead. These results make us all proud, particularly our alumni and donors who have invested mightily in that premise.”

A total of 229 Penn State student-athletes garnered Dean’s List accolades by posting at least a 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits) during the spring semester. The 229 Dean’s List honorees ranks No. 2 during the spring (237 in 2017).

Women’s cross country recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State’s 31 programs during the spring, for the second consecutive semester. The women’s soccer and field hockey squads also posted team GPAs above 3.5 to deliver the second and third-highest GPAs during the most recent semester.

Penn State Student-Athlete Academic Records from 2018 Spring semester -Semester student-athlete combined GPA – 3.15 (previous high 3.14, Spring & Fall 2017) -Percentage of student-athletes with at least 3.0 GPA – 66 percent (ties Spring 2017) -26 teams earning at least a 3.0 GPA (ties Fall 2017)

Russ Mushinsky, Director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that 38 Penn State student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA during the spring semester.

Student-Athletes With 3.0 GPA; Spring semester, 2013-18 (+7.6 percent)

Spring 2018 – 487

Spring 2017 – 495 (spring record)

Spring 2016 – 482

Spring 2015 – 474

Spring 2014 – 461

Spring 2013 – 450 (first year with men’s and women’s hockey)

The number of Penn State student-athletes earning Dean’s List honors (3.5 GPA) has increased 17.5 percent since the 2013 spring semester (189 to 229). The number of Nittany Lion students posting a 3.0 GPA has increased 7.6 percent the past five years, from 450 in 2013 to 487 this spring.

Student-Athletes earning Dean’s List honors; Spring semester, 2013-18 (+17.5 percent) (3.5 GPA; minimum 12 credits)

Spring 2018 – 229

Spring 2017 – 237 (spring record)

Spring 2016 – 224

Spring 2015 – 221

Spring 2014 – 205

Spring 2013 – 189 (first year with men’s and women’s hockey)

Eight Highest Semesters for Number of 3.0 GPA Students Since Fall 2014

Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the eight highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA:

2014 fall (500); 2015 spring (474)

2015 fall (516); 2016 spring (482)

2016 fall (498); 2017 spring (495)

2017 fall (520); 2018 spring (487)

Penn State, ranked No. 12 in the final 2017-18 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring approximately 800 student-athletes across 31 programs (16 men’s, 15 women’s). Nittany Lion students have captured 34 Big Ten Championships and conference-best nine NCAA titles since the 2012 fall semester.

Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent, which ties the Nittany Lions’ all-time high. Nine teams earned a 100 percent GSR in the NCAA’s November 2017 report.

A record 166 Nittany Lion students from the spring/at-large sports boosted Penn State Athletics to a school record 360 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2017-18 (3.0 GPA or higher).

Penn State ranks No. 4 among all Division I schools with 201 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including Emily Ogle (women’s soccer), Haleigh Washington (women’s volleyball) and Noah Roberson (men’s gymnastics/At-Large) in 2017-18.

A total of 138 Nittany Lion students have earned their degrees so far during the 2017-18 academic year, with additional graduates to come in August.


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