Dec. 17, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Thirty-two current and former Huskie student-athletes earned their undergraduate degrees from Northern Illinois University over the weekend, including 19 members of the NIU football program, NIU Senior Associate Athletic Director Francine St. Clair announced Thursday.
Northern Illinois student-athletes from eight Huskie teams were among the university's December graduates. The football grads include 13 2009 seniors who will finish their playing careers at the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 2, 2010. It will be the third bowl for the 2009 football senior class.
"Congratulations to these student-athletes who have successfully balanced academics and athletics throughout their time at Northern Illinois," said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "Graduating student-athletes is central to our mission of Developing Champions, in the classroom, in competition and in life, and everyone in our department takes great pride in this accomplishment.
"This is one of the largest groups of December graduates in recent memory," said St. Clair, who directs NIU's Student-Athlete Academic Support Services (SAASS) unit. "We are very proud of the hard work and determination each of them has demonstrated in the classroom throughout their careers to reach this point."
In addition to the football players, three student-athletes from the NIU women's soccer program graduated, along with two 2008-09 women's basketball seniors, two volleyball players, two men's soccer players and two members of the men's tennis team. Other Huskie teams represented by one December graduate each are women's tennis and wrestling.
"The large number of December graduates overall is a testament to the hard work of the SAASS staff, who keep the students on track for graduation with the support of individuals throughout the NIU campus," Compher said. "To see 14 of our 17 2009 football seniors have their degrees in hand prior to the bowl game is especially impressive."
The largest group of student-athletes - eight - graduated from the NIU School of Business, and the Huskies had seven communications majors, three in kinesiology and physical education and two each in engineering, biology and history.
Following is a list of NIU's December 2009 student-athlete graduates (listed by sport) with their academic majors.
Becky Smith (Kinesiology & Physical Education)
Jessie Wilcox (Art Education)
Eddie Adamski (Engineering)
Josh Allen (General Studies)
Anthony Antonacci (Biology)
Bryan Beckner (Businesss - Accountancy)
Phil Brown (Communications)
David Bryant (Communications)
Reed Cunningham (Geography)
Andy Dittbenner (Business - Marketing)
Ethan Gill (Fine Arts)
Cory Hanson (Communications)
James Jefferies (Communications)
Mike Kritikos (Business)
Mike Lepper (Communications)
Jason Onyebuagu (Communications)
Bradley Pruitt (General Studies)
Mike Salerno (Biology)
Kevin Skatrud (History)
Preston Williams (History)
Spencer Williamson (Business - Management)
Brian Abdallah (Business - Administration)
Steve Kolzow (Business - Finance)
Thea Johnson (Kinesiology & Physical Education)
Hannah Nussbaum (Kinesiology & Physical Education)
Jestina Orlando (General Studies)
Jimmy Chu (Business - Finance)
Alfonso Monroy (Business - Administration)
Lilian Asuaje (Industrial Engineering)
Joelle Beisel (Audiology)
Irene Johnson (Family Social Services)
Scott Wallace (Communications)
-- NIU -
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