MSU Graduates 2nd Largest Class of Student Athletes

by Missouri State Athletics

The second-largest group of student-athletes on record will participate in three spring commencement ceremonies scheduled for Friday, May 17 at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus here.

Seventy-nine current and former Bear athletes will be recognized for completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees during the spring semester.

Friday’s ceremonies will be conducted at 9 a.m. (College of Humanities and Public Affairs, McQueary College of Health and Human Services), 1 p.m. (College of Arts & Letters, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, College of Education) and 5 p.m. (College of Business, Darr College of Agriculture, and Interdisciplinary Academic Programs).

For the second year in a row, students who will complete their degree requirements during the summer will also be allowed to participate in spring commencement. Including the 17 student-athletes expected to graduate in August — and the aforementioned 79 spring graduates — 96 participants in the May ceremony are the largest single ceremony total on record for MSU Athletics.

During the 2018-19 academic year, another record total of 140 Missouri State student-athletes will have completed their degrees. That total includes 18 who finished their degree programs in August 2018, 43 from December 2018 and 79 from the May 2019 class.

Over the last 10 years, MSU commencement exercises have seen 1,038 student-athletes complete their degrees, while 394 former Bears have graduated over the past three years alone. This is the fifth consecutive year with 100 or more graduating student-athletes.

The top commencement ceremonies on record for Missouri State Athletics are: May 2017 (81), May 2019** (79), May 2015 (73), May 2018** (71), May 2006 (64), May 2016 (63), May 2004 (61), May 2009 (61), May 2014 (60), May 2005 (59).

Football (18), women’s track and field (11), women’s swimming and diving (9), and men’s soccer (9) led all sports in terms of individuals graduating this spring and summer.

The 2019 spring and summer commencement list also includes 24 MSU student-athletes graduating with academic honors.

Eight student-athletes earned the top academic honor of summa cum laude (#) with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher, including: Emily Butters (volleyball), Ashley Childers (women’s golf), Kacper Cwiek (men’s swimming & diving), Gary Ernest (football), Caroline Finnell (beach volleyball), Kyle Hiebert (men’s soccer), Amber Obermaier (women’s track & field), and Sydney Zupan (women’s swimming & diving).

Four student-athletes compiled GPAs in the 3.75-3.89 range to earn magna cum laude (##) distinction: Jared Beshore (football), Aubree Dennis (beach volleyball), Brianna McCullough (women’s swimming & diving), and Loretta Stelnicki (women’s swimming & diving).

Twleve additional student-athletes finished with GPAs in the 3.50 to 3.74 range to garner cum laude (###) laurels, including: Emma Chadwell (women’s swimming & diving), Kory Franks (men’s golf), Danielle Gitzen (women’s basketball), Gerard Harker (football), Mackenzie Irwin (volleyball), Olivia Ott (women’s track & field), Brooke Prondzinski (women’s soccer), Davis Schwab (baseball), Emily Tran (field hockey), Cambree Villarreal (volleyball), Phillip Willett (men’s swimming & diving), and Brooks Zimmerman (baseball).

Five MSU student-athletes — Aubree Dennis (beach volleyball), Hope Hernhart (women’s swimming & diving), Caroline Finnell (beach volleyball), Brooks Zimmerman (baseball) and Sydney Zupan (women’s swimming & diving) — completed their undergraduate degrees with additional scrutiny in the Honors College (HC).

A total of 25 student-athletes earned master’s degrees.

Missouri State University will confer a total of 2,941 degrees to students at its spring 2019 commencement bachelor’s degrees, including 2,285 bachelor’s degrees, 551 master’s degrees, 96 doctorate degrees and nine specialist degrees Friday. Beyond the standard expectations, the university will recognize 116 students for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College. The university will recognize 164 students who will graduate summa cum laude, 208 who will graduate magna cum laude, and 382 who will graduate cum laude.

By sport, here are Missouri State’s spring and summer 2019 graduating student-athletes:

Baseball (7): Matt Fultz* (M.P.S. Sports Management), Spencer Johnson (Engineering & Applied Physics), Austin Knight* (Sport & Park Administration), Jake Lochner (General Business), Justin Paulsen* (Sport & Park Administration), Davis Schwab ### (Administrative Management), Brooks Zimmerman ### (Administrative Management).

Beach Volleyball (7): Sarah Demmer* (M.B.A. Business Administration) (HC), Aubree Dennis ## (Nursing) (HC), Caroline Finnell # (Dietetics) (HC), Keylee Hawkins (Biology), Sydney LeMay (Grad. Certificate Public Health Administration), Ivy Reynolds (M.P.S. Sports Management), Olivia Strode (Elementary Education).

Field Hockey (4): Kayla Jordan* (Child Development), Renee Rhoads* (Exercise & Movement Science), Alexa Simpson (Exercise & Movement Science), Emily Tran ### (Exercise & Movement Science).

Football (18): Jared Beshore ## (Physical Education), A.J. David (Sociology), Zach Drake (Microbiology & Biotechnology), Gary Ernest # (Finance), Easton Flaugh (Mechanical Engineering Technology), Erik Furmanek       (M.B.A. Business Administration), Gerard Harker ### (Exercise & Movement Science), Skyler Hulse (Physical Education), Anthony Monken* (Communication Studies), Cameron Price (Sales Management), Marquis Prophete* (Criminology), Brad Pryor* (M.B.A. Business Administration), Scotty Schaffner (Criminology), LeMarcus Stewart (M.H.A. Health Administration), Marcus Stewart* (Communication Studies), Stacey Thornton (General Studies), Jordan Turner (Sport & Park Administration), Brendan Withrow (Risk Management & Insurance).

Men’s Basketball (3): Obediah Church (Criminology), Jarred Dixon* (Sport & Park Administration), Ryan Kreklow (Administrative Management).

Men’s Golf (3): Brad Carpenter (M.B.A. Business Administration), Kory Franks ### (Finance), John Fuchs (M.B.A. Business Administration).

Men’s Soccer (9): Tucker Brown (Cell & Molecular Biology), Andrew Dittemore (Supply Chain Analytics), Kyle Hiebert # (Accounting), Conor Ingram (Communication Studies), Jake Kovarik (M.B.A. Business Administration), Harry Lewis (Sociology), Liam Priestley* (M.B.A. Business Administration), Jack Roberts (M.A. Communication), Ian Wu (Economics).

Men’s Swimming & Diving (6): Bryce Blattner *# (Journalism), Brenden Bolman (Geology), Kacper Cwiek # (Computer Information Systems), Kevin Douglas (Political Science), Uvis Kalnins (M.B.A. Business Administration), Phillip Willett ### (Media Production).

Softball (5): Darian Frost (Administrative Management), Morgan Greenlee (Administrative Management), Sara Jones (M.S.E.D. Mathematics), Kyana Mason (Psychology), Kara Powelson (Horticulture).

Volleyball (4): Lauren Boone (M.A.C.C. Accountancy), Emily Butters # (Exercise & Movement Science), Mackenzie Irwin ### (Sport & Park Administration), Cambree Villarreal ### (Psychology).

Women’s Basketball (1): Danielle Gitzen ### (Advertising & Promotion).

Women’s Golf (5): Caroline Boone (M.P.S. Sports Management), Ashley Childers # (Logistics and Operations Management), Chiara Citterio (Grad. Certificate Forensic Child Psychology), Rachel Johnson* (Entertainment Management), Ryan Pate (Risk Management & Insurance).

Women’s Soccer (4): Kassi Flynn* (Psychology), Karen Kozol* (Sales Management), Brooke Prondzinski ### (Cell & Molecular Biology), Masen Stamp (Marketing Management).

Women’s Swimming & Diving (9): Emma Chadwell ### (Biology) (HC), Hope Ernhart (Biology) (HC), Kaylee Larson (Public Relations), Brianna McCullough ## (Public Relations), Moriah Moore (Supply Chain Analytics), Shannon Myer (D.P.T. Physical Therapy), Josie Pearson *# (Sociology), Loretta Stelnicki ## (Administrative Management, Sydney Zupan # (Cell & Molecular Biology) (HC).

Women’s Track & Field / Cross Country (11): Kelli Bowen (Psychology), Nikki Buck (Animal Science), Renae Buschling (Psychology), Teonia Hansome (Accounting), Daijha Heron (Sport & Park Administration), Julie James (Entertainment Management), Alyson Jones (M.P.S. Professional Studies), Mirissa Massey (Dietetics), Megan Nickles (M.S. Speech-Language Pathology), Amber Obermaier # (Anthropology), Olivia Ott ### (Dietetics).

# Summa Cum Laude
##Magna Cum Laude
### Cum Laude
* Summer graduate
**Summer commencement was eliminated in 2018. This number includes only spring semester graduates.
(HC) Honors College