May 19, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. -- Sixty-six Northern Illinois student-athletes representing 16 Huskie teams earned their degrees in 2008-09, led by 20 members of the NIU football program, NIU Director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services Francine St. Clair announced Tuesday.
The Huskies 2008-09 grads list includes 16 student-athletes who earned their degrees in December 2008, 35 who celebrated commencement earlier this month and 15 who are scheduled to complete their studies this summer.
"We are extremely proud of these 66 student-athletes who have graduated or will graduate this year," St. Clair said. "They have successfully balanced the demands of practice and competition with their academic requirements to achieve the number one goal for each of our student-athletes - to earn a degree from Northern Illinois University."
Among Northern Illinois' 2008-09 football graduates are 10 2008 seniors and four players who are scheduled to return for their senior season in 2009 as graduate students. Defensive end Brandon Bice, special teamer David Pratt and linebackers Spencer Williamson and Zach Larsen will return to the Huskie program in 2009 with their bachelor's degrees in hand. Larry English, who made NIU history in 2009 when he became the highest NFL draft choice in school history after being selected as the 16th pick in the first round by the San Diego Chargers, earned his bachelor's degree in December as did New York Jets' free agent wide receiver Britt Davis.
In addition to the football student-athletes, six members of both the NIU women's gymnastics and softball teams are on the graduates list, while five volleyball, five baseball and four men's soccer players earned their degrees. Every team except men's basketball, which featured only one senior last season, had at least one graduate in 2008-09 with Sharí Welton and Becky Smith the women's basketball representatives.
NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher offered his congratulations.
"Congratulations to all of our 2008-09 graduates," Compher said. "We have many ways nowadays to measure how we as a university and as an athletic department are helping our student-athletes achieve success in the classroom. None of those indicators are as impactful as this list of graduates. When we talk about our department's mission statement of Developing Champions in Competition, in the Classroom and in Life, this is what it is all about."
Of the 66 student-athlete graduates, the largest number - 13 - earned their degrees in communications, while nine graduated with degrees in kinesiology and eight were marketing majors. In all, 19 different majors were represented on the student-athletes graduate list. The majors varied from accountancy and finance to engineering, biology, chemistry, political science and nutrition and dietetics.
"Everyone at NIU - from the student-athletes themselves to our coaches, faculty, campus resources and especially our Student-Athlete Academic Support Services staff - has played a part in this very tangible proof of our success," Compher said. "We will continue to make graduation the ultimate goal for every student-athlete who arrives on our campus and take great pride in the accomplishments of this latest group of grads."
Following is a list of NIU's 2008-09 student-athlete graduates (listed by sport) and those expected to graduate this summer. Their academic majors are also indicated.
Northern Illinois 2008-09 Student-Athlete Graduates
Justin Behm - Marketing
Matt Behren - Accountancy
Joe Piekarz - History
^Brian Smith - Communications
Jeff Thomas - Physical Education
Becky Smith - Kinesiology
Sharí Welton - Communications
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Meghan Ginter - Nutrition & Dietetics
Alli Grissom - Communications
Denisse Valladares - Elementary Education
Brandon Beal - General Studies
^Brandon Bice - Biology
Jon Brost - Electrical Engineering
Chase Carter - Communications
Britt Davis - Communications
Jon Ellison - Sociology
Larry English - General Studies
Jeff Fontana - Marketing
T.J. Griffin - Communications
Adam Grimm - Biology
Zach Holycross - Kinesiology
Dan Keller - Communications
Alex Krutsch - Communications
^Zach Larsen - Marketing
Tim Mayerbock - Sociology/Psychology
Dan Nicholson - Communications
^David Pratt - Kinesiology
Marcus Perez - General Studies
Melvin Rice - Communication
Adam Schroeder - Kinesiology
^Spencer Williamson - Marketing
Alex Wagner - Marketing
Ashley Lods - FCNS/Hospitality
Abbie Many - Kinesiology
Nicci Schultz - FCNS
Tiffany Anderson - Psychology
Ashton Flora - Nutrition & Dietetics
Leah Johnson - Communications
Amber Koteles - Health Science
Jessica Marston - Chemistry
Jennifer Naughton - Psychology
Steve Algozino - Communications
Fraser Gibson - Communications
Chris Johnson - Political Science
Chris Rufa - Marketing
Jenna Clausen - Marketing
Maddie Lehman - Communications
Katie Sturges - Kinesiology
Katie Colby - Political Science
Taryn Hagemann - CNS/Textiles
Michelle Nendza - Health Science
Bailey Ouellette - Psychology
Jenna Roberts - Sociology
Dani Thompson - Kinesiology
Brian Livingston - Marketing
Dora Delgadillo - Engineering
WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD
Jennene Anthony - Elementary Education
Shoshanna Brown - Kinesiology
Brittany Sasek - Kinesiology
Laura Baetzel - FCNS
Maria Benitez - Accountancy
Mandy Caputo - Finance
Gina Guide - Health Science
Jessica Schultz - Nutrition & Dietetics
David Benner - Physical Education
Jesse Linczmaier - Political Science
Will McDermott - Psychology
^Slated to return and compete for NIU in 2009-10.
-- NIU --
Keep up with the latest news and notes on Northern Illinois Athletics, read "Huskie Happenings" on niuhuskies.com.