June 26, 2008
DeKALB, Ill. - Forty-nine Northern Illinois University student-athletes representing 16 different sports programs earned their undergraduate degrees from NIU in 2007-08, including six who will return to compete for the Cardinal and Black next season.
The Huskie football team claimed the most graduates this year with nine student-athletes picking up their diplomas, including former letterwinners Brad Cieslak (2002-2004) and Jermaine Hampton (1998-2000), who have gone on to play in the National Football League since leaving NIU. Cieslak, a tight end, is currently with the Cleveland Browns organization after spending three seasons with the Buffalo Bills from 2005-07, while Hampton was on the Indianapolis Colts' roster in 2001 and 2002.
"Certainly we are proud of all of our student-athletes who have achieved the ultimate goal of graduating from NIU," said Senior Associate Athletic Director Francine St. Clair. "However, it is particularly gratifying to have two of our professional players return to complete their degrees. Their commitment to come back and earn their degrees shows our current student-athletes how important it is to continue working toward their academic goals."
In addition to the two returning football student-athletes, four players who will be seniors for head coach Jerry Kill in 2008, already have been awarded their undergraduate degrees: wide receivers Britt Davis (Broadview, Ill./Riverside-Brookfield HS), Matt Simon (Farmington, Minn./Farmington) and Evans Adonis (Miami, Fla./Southwest), and tailback Montell Clanton (Rockford, Ill./Guilford). The four will pursue graduate degrees as they complete their eligibility next season, as will David Koronkiewicz, who graduated in business last spring and will begin his second year of master's work in his senior season.
"Five is the highest number of college graduates that we have had on the football team in recent history," St. Clair said. "These players have the ability to leave NIU with not one, but two, degrees and that is a credit to their hard work and dedication to getting the most out of their academic and athletic opportunities."
Baseball's Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill/Central) and Aileen Roussouw (Plano, Texas/Plano) of women's basketball also graduated with eligibility remaining and will return for their senior seasons while taking graduate courses.
Minogue joined four of his baseball teammates on the 2007-08 graduates list, while five women's basketball players, including former standout Stephanie Raymond (Rockford, Ill.), have finished their coursework. Other teams with at least three graduates in 2007-08 were women's track and field (5 graduates), women's soccer (3), men's soccer (3), gymnastics (3), wrestling (3) and softball (4). Men's basketball (2), men's (2) and women's (1) golf, volleyball (2), women's cross country (1) and men's tennis (1) each had at least one former student-athlete graduate this year.
The student-athletes' majors represented the diversity of programs offered at NIU with everything from business, communications, sociology-criminology and physical education to nursing, engineering, art, biology, kinesiology/preventative rehabilitation and speech pathology represented among the 49 degrees.
While some student-athletes will remain on campus at NIU or elsewhere to pursue graduate degrees -- like former baseball player Jesse Seykora (Owatonna, Minn.), who is working as a graduate assistant for the Huskie Athletics Scholarship Fund office in the athletic department -- others have already embarked on their professional careers. For example, former cross country student-athlete and nursing grad Stacey Rosch (Carol Stream, Ill.) recently treated the father of an athletic department staffer at Central Dupage Hospital in Winfield, Ill.
Preparing student-athletes for success, whether their futures lie on the playing fields or in offices, schools or hospitals, is the ultimate reward of intercollegiate athletics, says Northern Illinois Director of Athletics Jeff Compher.
"We are extremely proud of our 2007-08 graduates," Compher said. "Earning a college degree is a significant accomplishment for anyone, and balancing the rigors of athletic competition and the dedication to their team along with their academic demands is particularly challenging. However, the rewards are definitely worth it, and the hard work and lessons learned as student-athletes will remain with them long after they leave NIU."
Following is a list of NIU's 2007-08 student-athlete graduates.
Northern Illinois 2007-08 Student-Athlete Graduates
does not include Summer 2008 graduates
GRADUATE (SPORT) - MAJOR
^ Evans Adonis (FB) - Business Marketing
Lisa Bailey (WGOLF) - Hospital Administration
Margaret Batteast (WBB) - Sociology-Criminology
Courtney Brown (WTR) - KNPE K-12
Michelle Christian (WSOC) - Biological Sciences
* BRAD CIESLAK (FB) - General Studies
^ Montell Clanton (FB) - Corporate Communications
Matt Corcoran (MSOC) - Political Science/International Politics
Meghan Cronin (GYM) - Studio Art Design
^ Britt Davis (FB) - Corporate Communications
Elaine Eliadis (WSOC) - KNPE K-12
Coretta Evans (WTR) - General Studies
Margaret Gorski (WTR) - KNPE K-12
Blake Gotkowski (MSOC) - Business Marketing
Meagan Guenther (WTR) - Kinesiology/Preventative Rehabilitation
* JERMAINE HAMPTON (FB) - General Studies
Michael Hart (MBB) - General Studies
Saul Ibarra (FB) - General Studies
Zach Jecklin (MGOLF) - Business Finance
Amanda Johnson (GYM) - Business Marketing
Tim Kamin (BASE) - General Public Health
Tom Kelly (FB) - Corporate Communications
Brett Kellam (BASE) - General Studies
Kalen Knull (WR) - Health Sciences
Megan Kolkay (WSOC) - Kinesiology/Preventative Rehab. Exercise Science
Whitney Lowe (WBB) - Speech Language/Pathology/Audiology
Kate McCullagh (VB) - KNPE K-12
Krista McPherson (SB) - Sociology-Criminology
Tara Michels (WBB) - Business Finance
Joe Mills (MGOLF) - Business Marketing
^ Pat Minogue (BASE) - Corporate Communications
Jenna Mitchell (SB) - Business Administration
Dave Nykiel (BASE) - Sociology-Criminology
Aaron Owen (WR) - Biological Sciences
Ryan Paradise (MBB) - Corporate Communications
Kelly Park (SB) - KNPE K-12
Stephanie Raymond (WBB) - KNPE K-12
Jennifer Rice (GYM) - Corporate Communications
Stacey Rosch (WCROSS COUNTRY) - Nursing
^ Aileen Rossouw (WBB) - General Studies
JOSEPH SAPP (WR) - History
Adam Schroeder (FB) - Kinesiology/Preventative Rehabilitation
Jesse Seykora (BASEB) - General Studies
^ Matt Simon (FB) - Business Management
Ellen Stoddard (SB) - KNPE K-12
Carolyn Vasquez (WTR) - Speech Language/Pathology/Audiology
AMANDA WARD (VB) - Elementary Education
Kevin Woerner (MSOC) - Mechanical Engineering
Diego Zegarra-Ballon (MTEN) - Industrial and Systems Engineering
^Has eligibility remaining and will compete for NIU in 2008-09.
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