by Rick Kindhart
The third-largest group of student-athletes on record will complete their undergraduate and post-graduate degrees this week as Missouri State University concludes its spring semester Friday, May 15 with virtual commencement ceremonies.
Seventy-five current and former Bear athletes will be recognized this spring. The university’s normal commencement traditions were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spring and summer graduates will have the opportunity to be recognized during homecoming weekend (Oct. 18) this fall or during MSU’s regular fall commencement program at the end of the year (Dec. 11).
For the third straight year, students who will complete their degree requirements during the summer term may also be recognized with the spring class. Including the six student-athletes expected to graduate in August — and the aforementioned 75 spring graduates — a total of 81 Missouri State student-athletes will be “turning pro” in their various fields of study.
During the 2019-20 academic year, a total of 130 Missouri State student-athletes will have completed their degrees. That total includes 17 who finished their degree programs in August 2019, 38 from December 2019 and the 75 from the May 2020 class.
Over the last 10 years, MSU commencement exercises have seen 1,103 student-athletes complete their degrees, while 393 former Bears have graduated over the past three years alone. This is the sixth 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 2020 (75), May 2015 (73), May 2018 (71), May 2006 (64), May 2016 (63), May 2004 (61), May 2009 (61), May 2014 (60).
Football (9), men’s basketball (8), women’s soccer (8), men’s swimming and diving (8), and women’s swimming and diving (8) led all sports in terms of individual graduates this spring and summer.
The 2020 spring and summer commencement list also includes 33 MSU student-athletes graduating with academic honors.
Eleven student-athletes earned the top academic honor of summa cum laude (#) with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher, including: Jordyn Capra (women’s track & field), Ashley Dudenhoeffer (volleyball), Olina Einarsdottir (women’s soccer), Erin Griesbauer (softball), Hannah Heinrichs (softball), Thomas Heye (men’s swimming & diving), Kaitlin Maxwell (women’s soccer), Lukas McCalla (men’s golf), Artur Osvath (men’s swimming & diving), Sam Seen (men’s swimming & diving), Carsten Warner (softball).
Eleven additional student-athletes compiled GPAs in the 3.75-3.89 range to earn magna cum laude (##) distinction: Matt Bentley (men’s soccer), Brock Hughes (football), Gerri Idos (volleyball), Darby Joerling (softball), Dakota Karns (men’s soccer), Mayleigh Oder (women’s soccer), Lucas Paloschi (men’s swimming & diving), Payton Smith (women’s swimming & diving), Alexa Willard (women’s basketball), Brooke Zenner (women’s soccer), Ashley Coonfield (women’s soccer).
Eleven additional student-athletes finished with GPAs in the 3.50 to 3.74 range to garner cum laude (###) laurels, including: Sarah Allegri (women’s swimming & diving), Haley Allen (women’s swimming & diving), Alex Coffin (football), Laynie Dake (volleyball), Alye Darter (women’s tennis), Brooke Dreiling (women’s swimming & diving); Jack Duffy (baseball), Daniele Messa (volleyball), Kathryn Mirbaha (field hockey), Christopher Obert (men’s golf), Sara O’Malley (field hockey).
Four MSU student-athletes — Ashley Coonfield (women’s soccer), Brooke Dreiling (women’s swimming & diving), Sam Senn (men’s swimming & diving) and Carsten Warner (softball) — completed their undergraduate degrees with additional scrutiny in the Honors College (HC).
A total of six student-athletes earned master’s degrees — Kaitlin Beason (softball), Emma Farley (women’s track & field), Kadisha Francois (women’s track & field), Briana Horozewski (women’s swimming & diving), Bianca Mills (field hockey) and Lauren Williams (women’s swimming & diving).
Missouri State University will confer a total of 2,168 degrees to students this spring, including 2,285 bachelor’s degrees, 592 master’s degrees, 98 doctorate degrees and 14 specialist degrees. Beyond the standard expectations, the university will recognize 117 students for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College. The university will recognize 202 students who will graduate summa cum laude, 220 who will graduate magna cum laude, and 398 who will graduate cum laude.
By sport, here are Missouri State’s spring and summer 2020 graduating student-athletes:
Baseball (6): Jack Duffy ### (Advertising & Promotion), Tyler McAlister (Communication Studies), Joey Polak* (Sport Administration), John Privitera (Finance), Logan Wiley (Construction Management), Nate Witherspoon (Sales Management).
Beach Volleyball (3): Makayla Tam (Biology), Julia Hanson (Psychology), Sydney Wright (Biology).
Field Hockey (4): Marina Ellison (Microbiology & Biotechnology), Bianca Mills (M.B.A. Business Administration), Kathryn Mirbaha ### (Administrative Management), Sara O’Malley ### (Marketing Management).
Football (9): Alex Coffin ### (Financial Planning), Chandler Collins (History), Aaron Denson (Public Relations), Brock Hughes ## (Health Services), Casey O’Brien (Sales Management), Matt Platko (Psychology), Kendall Stewart* (General Studies), Jordan Wilkes (Health Services), Alan Worsham (General Studies).
Men’s Basketball (8): Keandre Cook (General Studies), Tulio Da Silva (Communication Studies), Tyrik Dixon (General Studies), Abdul Fofana (Mechanical Engineering Technology), Josh Hall* (General Studies), Tyrie Hill-Thomas (Elementary Education), Kabir Mohammed* (Supply Chain Analytics), Ross Owens (Construction Management).
Men’s Golf (3): Jack Knoesel (Sales Management), Lukas McCalla # (Finance), Christopher Obert ### (Finance).
Men’s Soccer (3): Matt Bentley ## (Economics), Dakota Karns ## (Construction Management), Nico Padgett (Exercise & Movement Science).
Men’s Swimming & Diving (8): Blair Bish (Digital Film & Television Production), Thomas Heye # (Cell & Molecular Biology), Minki Kang (International Business Administration), Artur Osvath # (Finance / International Business Administration), Lucas Paloschi ## (General Agriculture / Agricultural Finance & Management), Conner Ripp (Finance), Sam Senn # (Accounting), Antonio Thomas (Digital Film Production).
Softball (5): Kaitlin Beason (M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis), Erin Griesbauer # (Exercise & Movement Science), Hannah Heinrichs # (Middle School Education), Darby Joerling ## (Exercise & Movement Science), Carsten Warner # (Cell & Molecular Biology).
Volleyball (5): Aubrey Cheffey (Psychology), Laynie Dake ### (Speech-Language Pathology), Ashley Dudenhoeffer # (Administrative Management), Gerri Idos ## (Cell & Molecular Biology), Daniele Messa ### (Psychology).
Women’s Basketball (4): Brice Calip* (Sport Administration), Shameka Ealy* (Sport Administration), Sydney Schultz (Economics), Alexa Willard ## (General Business).
Women’s Soccer (8): Ashley Coonfield ## (Cell & Molecular Biology), Olina Einarsdottir # (Graphic Design), Lauren Fisher (Speech-Language Pathology), Emma Lieb (Communication Studies / Religious Studies), Kaitlin Maxwell # (Finance / Risk Management & Insurance), Mayleigh Oder ## (Marketing Management), Kayleigh Putnam (Audiology), Brooke Zenner ## (Psychology / Criminology).
Women’s Swimming & Diving (8): Sarah Allegri ### (Accounting), Haley Allen ### (Marketing Management), Anna Bump (3D Studies), Shelby Conner (Nursing), Brooke Dreiling ### (Exercise & Movement Science), Briana Horozewski (M.S. Cybersecurity), Payton Smith ## (Computer Animation), Lauren Williams (M.S. Speech-Language Pathology).
Women’s Tennis (1): Alye Darter ### (Speech-Language Pathology).
Women’s Track & Field / Cross Country (6): Danielle Bohannon (Sales Management), Jordyn Capra # (Animal Science), Emma Farley (M.A.S.L.A. Applied Second Language Acquisition), Kadisha Francois (M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling), Taryn Smiley (Sport Administration), Sidne Williamson (Sport Administration).
# Summa Cum Laude
## Magna Cum Laude
### Cum Laude
* Summer graduate