Fifty-Seven MSU Student-Athletes Complete Degrees Friday
May 18, 2012
SPRINGFIELD -- A group of 57 Missouri State University student-athletes will receive their degrees at three spring commencement ceremonies at JQH Arena on Friday, May 18. Also Friday, former Missouri State soccer standout Heath Melugin (Springfield, Mo.) was named as the winner of the 58th Annual Virgil Cheek Athletic Achievement Award.
The Virgil Cheek Award has been given annually since 1955 to the graduating senior male student-athlete best demonstrating high qualities in scholarship, character, attendance, leadership and athletic performance. The award is named in honor of the long-time Missouri State faculty athletics representative and business faculty member and selected by the six men's intercollegiate athletics head coaches.
Melugin was an All-MVC first team honoree as a senior in 2011 and led the MVC co-champion Bears in points, goals, shots, shots on goal and game-winners. He earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for the second straight year, garnering elite status as the first Bear in any sport to earn Academic All-America first-team distinction since 2006.
The standout midfielder from Springfield was named to the MVC All-Tournament Team as a senior and was selected as the 2011 MVC Elite 18 Award winner in men's soccer. He also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team honors for the third season, was named Prairie Farms-MVC Student Athlete of the Week twice, earned a spot on the MVC Scholar-Athlete first-team for the third year and was named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
He finished his career ranked fifth all-time at MSU in game-winners (8), seventh in goals (22) and eighth in points (53). He will earn summa cum laude honors with a 3.97 GPA and plans to attend medical school.
Including August and December 2011 ceremonies, a total of 95 Missouri State student-athletes have earned their degrees during the 2011-12 academic year.
Football once again led all programs with the most undergraduate degrees conferred this spring with 15, while women's swimming and diving was second with seven, followed by field hockey (5), women's soccer (5), men's soccer (4), men's swimming and diving (4), women's track and field (3), women's golf (3), men's golf (2), volleyball (2), baseball (1) and women's basketball (1).
The 2012 spring graduation list includes 15 MSU student-athletes graduating with academic honors. Six student-athletes earned the top academic honor of summa cum laude with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher, including Tara Bailes (women's soccer), Jenna Compton (field hockey), Jennifer Hamlin (women's soccer), Emily Matthews (women's golf), Heath Melugin (men's soccer) and Emily Potts (women's golf). Six additional student-athletes compiled GPAs in the 3.75-3.89 range to earn magna cum laude distinction: Elizabeth Chollet (women's swimming), Ramie Masters (field hockey), Laura Peterson (women's swimming), Jessica Teahan (women's soccer), Kelsey Welber (women's golf) and Brianna Willoughby (women's swimming). Three student-athletes finished with GPAs in the 3.50 to 3.74 range to garner cum laude laurels, including Brynne Buell (women's swimming), Tyler Saltzberry (men's swimming) and Thomas Vania (men's soccer). Five MSU student-athletes completed their undergraduate degrees with additional scrutiny in the honors college.
A year ago, 40 student-athletes earned undergraduate or graduate degrees in the May 2011 ceremonies. The top graduating classes on record for Missouri State athletics are: May 2006 (64), May 2004 (61), May 2009 (61), May 2005 (59), May 2007 (57), May 2008 (57), May 2012 (57).
The winners of the Andrew J. McDonald Achievement Award also were selected in advance of Friday's commencement activities. The Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department faculty annually recognizes the top graduating senior athletics participants majoring in healthy and physical education. The 2012 recipients of the award are: Katherine Fitzwater from Potosi, Mo., who graduated in December with a 3.68 GPA, and Bradley Angel from Knob Noster, Mo., who finished with a 3.11 GPA. Both students were heavily involved in intramural programs and coaching in the Springfield Community.
The two remaining awards to be selected for the 2011-12 academic year will be named at the conclusion of all Missouri State athletics competition for the year when the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Senior Female Scholar Athlete Award for the graduating senior with the highest GPA, and the Missouri State Outstanding Female Athlete Award will be presented.
Missouri State University will confer a total of 2,541 degrees during three spring commencement ceremonies, including 1,940 bachelor's degrees, 548 master's degrees, nine specialist degrees and 44 doctorate degrees. Beyond the standard expectations, 200 students will be recognized for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State's Honors College. Scholastic honors will be given to 272 students who will graduate summa cum laude (with a grade point average of 3.9-4.0 on a 4.0 scale), 156 who will graduate magna cum laude (with a GPA of 3.75-3.89) and 135 who will graduate cum laude (with a GPA of 3.5-3.74).
Football (15): Adam Beauchamp (Construction Management), Jordan Chiles (Exercise & Movement Science), Brandon Hilt (Construction Management), David Ingram (Criminology), Stephen Johnston (Broadcast Journalism), Jacob Murphy (General Business), Luther Roweton (Agricultural Marketing & Sales), Mikel Ruder (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration), Jermaine Saffold (Criminology), Wes Stammers (Physical Education), Jimmie Strong (Therapeutic Recreation), Philip Terhaar (Construction Management), Charlie Thompson (Criminology), Willie White (Criminology), Jarrett Wright (Entertainment Management).
Men's Swimming & Diving (4): Christopher Hyatt (Construction Management), Morgan Mitchell (Biology - honors), Tyler Saltzberry* (Wildlife Conservation & Management), Cajun Skinner (Psychology).
Women's Basketball (1): Casey Garrison (Psychology).
Women's Golf (3): Emily Matthews*** (Speech-Language Pathology), Emily Potts*** (Finance - honors), Kelsey Welber** (Marketing Management).
Women's Soccer (5): Tara Bailes*** (General Business - honors), Jennifer Hamlin*** (Dietetics - honors), Sarah Linsin (Elementary Education), Jordan Reppell (Entertainment Management), Jessica Teahan** (Early Childhood Education).
Women's Swimming & Diving (7): Brynne Buell* (Public Relations), Elizabeth Chollet (Exercise & Movement Science), Katie Lindeman (Criminology), Laura Peterson** (Political Science), Torrie Villasenor (Elementary Education), Caroline Williams (Athletic Training), Brianna Willoughby** (Dietetics),
Past Virgil Cheek Award Recipients
Past Andrew J. McDonald Achievement Award Recipients