JQH Arena
JQH Arena
32 Current and Former MSU Student-Athletes Complete Degrees

Dec. 15, 2011

SPRINGFIELD -- A total of 32 current and former Missouri State University student-athletes will receive their degrees Friday (Dec. 16) during fall commencement ceremonies at JQH Arena on the Springfield campus.

Football led all programs with the most undergraduate degrees conferred this fall with eight, in addition to the only graduate degree in the fall class.  Men's basketball and women's swimming and diving will graduate four student-athletes, followed by volleyball and women's track and field with three apiece. Other sports represented in the fall 2011 graduating class are baseball (2), men's swimming and diving (2), field hockey (2), softball (2), and men's soccer (1).

The 2011 fall graduation list includes four student-athletes graduating with academic honors. Cross Country and track standout Terry Phillips has earned summa cum laude honors (3.90-4.00 GPA), while magna cum laude honors (3.75-3.89 GPA) were bestowed on volleyballer Melissa Gmur. Two additional student-athletes earned cum laude distinction with track athlete Sophie Blount and former volleyball performer Christina Buckner Freeman compiling 3.50-3.74 grade-point averages, including Buckner's efforts in the honors college.

By sport, here are the student-athletes completing their degrees in December 2010:

Baseball (2)
Aaron Conway (Criminology), Christian Overstreet (Physical Education)

Men's Basketball (4)
Adam Leonard (Criminology), Jermaine Mallett (Criminology), Caleb Patterson (Psychology), Kyle Weems (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration)

Football (9)
Darius Blow (Construction Management), Chris Current (Construction Management), Erik Dahl (Accounting), Chris Douglas (Criminology), Justin Purvis (Advertising & Promotion), Travis Simmons (Administrative Management), Ian Starnes (Marketing Management), Terian Washington (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration). Graduate Degree - Jeff Sargent (Sports Management, M.S.)

Men's Soccer (1)
Ryan Hennessy (History)

Men's Swimming & Diving (2)
Dillon Burns (Administrative Management), Eric Ducourneau (Administrative Management)

Field Hockey (2)
Sarah Cusick (Psychology), Jennifer Portell (Print & Internet Journalism)

Softball (2)
Tyler Porter (English Education), Jenna Schwark (Finance)

Women's Swimming & Diving (4)
Chelsea Dirks-Ham (Exercise & Movement Science), Dimitra Drakopoulou (Psychology), Kristin Grott (Elementary Education), Sierra Ross (Exercise & Movement Science)

Track & Field (3)
Sofie Blount (English Education), Terry Phillips (Biochemistry), Mari-Jean Vance (Dietetics)

Volleyball (3)
Christina Buckner Freeman (Exercise & Movement Science), Melissa Gmur (Elementary Education), Maci Wood (Fashion Merchandising and Design)
Graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Health and Human Services, Humanities and Public Affairs, Natural and Applied Sciences, William H. Darr School of Agriculture and Global Studies majors will receive their degrees at 12:30 p.m. Graduates from the colleges of Business Administration and Education will receive their degrees at 4 p.m..  Both ceremonies will stream live on www.MissouriState.edu/commencement, the source for all graduation information.

In all, 975 bachelor’s degrees, 381 master’s degree, three specialist degrees, and three doctorate degrees will be conferred at MSU on Friday. Beyond the standard expectations, 53 students will be recognized for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College. Scholastic honors will be given to 30 students who will graduate summa cum laude (with a grade point average of 3.9-4.0 on a 4.0 scale), 60 who will graduate magna cum laude (with a GPA of 3.75-3.89) and 94 who will graduate cum laude (with a GPA of 3.5-3.74).

Justin Purvis, a former Bears' football player, will be graduating with two siblings — Hilary Harvill, an elementary education major, and Grant Purvis, broadcast journalism major. All three siblings live around the Springfield area and have enjoyed the opportunity to attend Missouri State together.