Academic Success The Robert Morris University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is not all about winning on the field, court or ice. Success in the classroom through academics is as much a triumph as the athletic competitions themselves. Robert Morris University is committed to the total development of its student-athletes. The 2014-15 academic year followed the trend set before it as student-athletes that competed in 16 sports combined to post a 3.250 grade point average (GPA) during the 2014-15 academic year. A pair of teams from Robert Morris were recognized by the Northeast Conference for compiling the best GPA in its respective sport. The volleyball team posted a 3.528 GPA in 2014-15, the fourth consecutive year the Colonials have posted the highest team GPA in the NEC, while the men’s soccer team finished with a league-high 3.191 team GPA. The men’s ice hockey team registered the highest team GPA of any program at Robert Morris in 2014-15, finishing at 3.624. It marked the fourth consecutive year the Colonials led the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC) in team GPA. In 2014-15, a total of 75 Colonials were named to the 2014 NEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, 35 to the 2015 NEC Winter Academic Honor Roll and 77 to the 2015 NEC Spring Academic Honor Roll. To be eligible for an NEC Academic Honor Roll, a student-athlete that participates in a sport must own a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or better. Likewise, to be named to an NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better. For Robert Morris in 2014-15, 25 studentathletes were named to the 2014 NEC Fall Commissioner’s Honor Roll, 14 to the 2015 NEC Winter Commissioner’s Honor Roll and 23 to the 2015 NEC Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll. In addition in 2014-15, 21 student-athletes from the RMU women’s ice hockey team were named to the 2015 College Hockey America (CHA) All-Academic Team, while 25 Colonials from the Robert Morris men’s ice hockey squad were tabbed to 2015 AHC All-Academic Team. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (MAAC) also named 18 student-athletes from RMU to its 2015 Women’s Rowing AllAcademic Team, while a total of 24 Colonials from the rowing squad were tabbed to the 2015 MAAC Academic Honor Roll.
Overall, nearly 70 percent of RMU’s 450+ student-athletes posted a 3.00 or higher GPA in 2014-15. The NEC also honored a trio of RMU’s student-athletes with the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in their respective sport during the 2014-15 academic year. Nick Faraci garnered the honor for football, while Ryan Prokay and Nicole Sleith were bestowed the honor for men’s golf and softball, respectively. Katelyn Scott of the women’s ice hockey team became the first four-time recipient of the CHA Student-Athlete of the Year in 2015, as she compiled a perfect 4.00 GPA both during the 2014-15 academic year and throughout her four years in the classroom as an engineering major.
David Rigatti of the men’s ice hockey team, meanwhile, was one of eight individuals from across the AHC to be honored as the 201415 AHC Student-Athlete of the Year. A biology major, Rigatti finished with a 4.00 GPA during the 2014-15 academic year. Additionally in 2014-15, Robert Morris had three student-athletes named to their respective Capital One District II Academic All-America Teams by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Faraci and Duane Mitchell earned the honor for football, while Sleith garnered the award for softball. Faraci went on to earn Capital One Academic All-America Second Team status. RMU’s exploits in the classroom in 201415 should come as no surprise. Since 1988, a total of 27 Robert Morris student-athletes have been named the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in their respective sports a total of 36 occasions. The Robert Morris football and softball programs have each had five student-athletes named the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year since 1988, which is tops among RMU’s 16 intercollegiate programs. Robert Morris has also placed 54 studentathletes on Capital One District II Academic All-America Teams since 1992, including 23 individuals that were honored in consecutive years. Football has led the way with 17 studentathletes named to the Capital One District
2015 ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSIT Y FOOTBALL
II Academic All-America Team, followed by softball with 12 honorees and volleyball with six. CoSIDA’s District II covers Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. A total of four former Robert Morris studentathletes also garnered the honor of being named the NEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year in the first nine years the award has been distributed. Sponsored by the league’s faculty athletic representatives, the award is bestowed annually upon the NEC male and female student-athlete who has exhausted his or her eligibility, graduated and has posted the highest cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the academic year. In June of 2014, Travis Denny of the men’s tennis program was the first male studentathlete from Robert Morris honored with the award after compiling a 3.93 GPA in earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Denny joined former Colonials Lisa Jaszka (2007), Tara Maxwell (2009) and Una Japudnza (2013) as a winner of the award. Jaszka was the inaugural winner of the accolade, earning the honor in 2007 for posting a perfect 4.00 GPA as an elementary education major throughout her four years on the volleyball team at Robert Morris. Maxwell, who competed for the Robert Morris women’s track & field team, earned the honor in July of 2009 after compiling a 3.99 grade point average as a manufacturing engineering major throughout her four years at RMU. Maxwell was one of three NEC female student-athletes to earn the award in 2009, joining Kathleen Henry of the Sacred Heart cross country program and Erin Reifsteck of the Saint Francis U. field hockey team. Japundza, a former RMU volleyball studentathlete, was honored in 2013 after compiling a 4.00 GPA as a management major throughout her tenure at RMU. Japundza shared the honor with Carly Thibault of the Monmouth women’s basketball squad. The reason for RMU’s success in the classroom is simple. Student-athletes receive the very best support when it comes to their academic curriculum. Evening study halls are monitored by the department’s student services personnel, and academic counseling is available from both the athletic department and the University’s enrollment management office. Graduation is the goal, and Robert Morris University strives to ensure its student-athletes achieve that objective.
Independence Day Magazine (Sept. 19, 2015)