Fifty Huskie student-athletes earn NIU degrees

Shaakira Haywood
Shaakira Haywood

Fifty Northern Illinois University student-athletes representing 15 Huskie teams celebrated commencement along with their classmates Saturday, May 11, at the NIU Convocation Center.

The graduation ceremonies, the last presided over by NIU President John G. Peters, honored students graduating either this spring or after the summer. Saturday’s degree recipients brings the total number of student-athletes graduates for 2012-13 to 65.

The graduates included 11 members of the Huskie football program, including five 2012 seniors and five players who will return for their senior seasons in 2013.

NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, who will complete his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology-preventative and rehabilitative exercise science this summer, was among the football graduates, as were fellow returning starters Jared Volk (business administration) and Dominique Ware (finance). Punter Ryan Neir, who completed his eligibility this year, leaves NIU with two degrees in his five seasons on campus as he earned his master’s degree in business administration Saturday.

NIU’s 2013 spring and summer graduates represented 25 different undergraduate majors. Business administration and kinesiology-preventative and rehabilitative exercise science ranked among the most popular along with health sciences/pre-physical therapy.

Tony Nixon
Tony Nixon

In all, there were 18 graduates from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 13 graduates from NIU’s College of Business, 10 from majors in the College of Health and Human Sciences, seven from Education and two College of Engineering grads.

Along with standards like history, biology, finance and communications, the Huskies pursued majors such as family, consumer and nutrition sciences (football’s Tyrone Clark), environmental geosciences (golfer Kurtis Luedtke), public health administration (track’s Amanda Schwab and Kayla Stipp) and a double major in applied mathematics and chemistry-biochemistry (Mike Mascitti of men’s soccer).

After football, the graduate numbers were fairly evenly spread out across the Northern Illinois programs.

Baseball and men’s golf each accounted for five graduates, while softball, volleyball, men’s soccer, wrestling, women’s track and field/cross country and women’s soccer had four each. NIU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs had two graduates apiece. Jamison Wells, a wide receiver for the Huskie football team and the centerfielder for the NIU baseball team, received his degree in kinesiology-preventative and rehabilitative exercise science.

“In addition to earning their degrees, this year’s group of graduating student-athletes has received numerous achievements both within their respective sports and academically,” said Liz Tovar, NIU associate athletics director for Student-Athlete Academic Support Services.

Morgan Bittner
Morgan Bittner

“Collectively, to be able to include within their list of accomplishments Academic All-America and Academic All MAC honors, NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships winners and a 3.0 cumulative (student-athlete) GPA is phenomenal. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments and the examples they have set, academically, for their younger teammates going forward.”

Northern Illinois honored its 2013 graduates with a Friday afternoon reception for the student-athletes, their families or guests, coaches and athletic administrators prior to the ceremonies on Saturday.

“Our student-athlete graduation reception is one way of paying tribute to our student-athletes for their hard work and dedication here at NIU, both in the classroom and on the fields of play,” Tovar said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to congratulate them and to wish them all the best in the future.”

For more information on Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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