Forty-Six Current and Former Bears Receive Degrees Friday
Virgil Cheek Award recipient Daily Young
Virgil Cheek Award recipient Daily Young

May 17, 2013

SPRINGFIELD -- A group of 46 Missouri State University student-athletes will receive their degrees at three spring commencement ceremonies at JQH Arena today (May 17), and MSU golfer Daily Young (Springfield, Mo.) was named as the winner of the 59th 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.  

Young was a two-time All-MVC selection and now holds the MSU career scoring average record of 74.04. He was named the 2010-11 MVC Newcomer of the Year and finished second on the Bears’ career wins list with three individual victories. He earned MVC Golfer of the Week honors seven times in his career – the seventh-best total in Missouri Valley Conference history.

He was named an Academic All American by the Golf Coaches Association of America in 2011-12 finishing the year with a 3.22 cumulative GPA. Young is also active with numerous individual service activities, including Boys & Girls Club, The Gardens Unassisted Living, Boys & Girls Town, A Sporting Chance, Ozarks Food Harvest, Just Read, Adopt-A-Street cleanup, Victory Mission and numerous junior golf clinics.   

Including August and December 2012 ceremonies, a total of 80 current and former Missouri State student-athletes have earned their degrees during the 2012-13 academic year. Spring commencement has seen 537 student-athletes complete their degrees over the last 10 years, while more than 250 former Bears have graduated in all commencement ceremonies over the last three years.

Football and women's soccer each have eight spring graduates to lead all programs, with women's swimming & diving and women's track and field close behind with six apiece. The field hockey (4), softball (3), men's basketball (2), men's soccer (2), women's basketball (2), women's golf (2), baseball (1), men's golf (1), men's swimming & diving (1) programs will also be represented during Friday's commencement exercises.

The 2013 spring graduation list includes 16 MSU student-athletes graduating with academic honors. Five student-athletes earned the top academic honor of summa cum laude with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher, including Lacey Boshe (women's basketball), Jay Butts (men's soccer), Jody McFarlen (women's soccer), Ashton Stubbs (track and field) and Chelsea Voet (women's soccer). Six student-athletes compiled GPAs in the 3.75-3.89 range to earn magna cum laude distinction: Steph Anderson (field hockey), Amy Boween (women's golf), Emma Clegg (women's golf), Jeny McGrath (women's soccer) and Michelle Sommer (women's soccer). Five additional student-athletes finished with GPAs in the 3.50 to 3.74 range to garner cum laude laurels, including Kelly Caldwell (women's soccer), Amber Green (women's swimming), Chelsey Medlock (field hockey), Stevie Pierce (softball), and Nicole Thate (track and field).  

Three MSU student-athletes -- Boshe, Bowen and McFarlen -- completed their undergraduate degrees with additional scrutiny in the Honors College.

A year ago, 57 student-athletes earned undergraduate or graduate degrees in the May 2012 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).

Missouri State University will confer a total of 1,829 bachelor’s degrees, 528 master’s degrees, eight specialist degrees and 39 doctorate degrees on Friday. Beyond the standard expectations, 548 students will be recognized for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College. Scholastic honors will be given to 114 students who will graduate summa cum laude, 165 who will graduate magna cum laude and 269 who will graduate cum laude.

The two remaining awards to be selected for the 2012-13 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.


Baseball (1): Derek Locascio (Organizational Communication)

Field Hockey (3): Steph Anderson (Print & Internet Journalism), Casey Bayliss (Print & Internet Journalism), Chelsey Medlock (Logistics and Supply Chain Management)

Football (8): Andre Anderson (Psychology), James Caine (Sociology), Jake Duron (Political Science), Pat Fornadel (Criminology), Rodney Kelly (Sport and Park Administration), Anthony Lee (Health and Wellness Promotion), Harrison Menke (Political Science), Tim Williams (Physical Education).

Men's Basketball (1): Anthony Downing (Criminology)

Men's Golf (1): Mark Hogan (General Business)

Men's Soccer (2): Jay Butts (Athletic Training), Nikolas Markos (Entrepreneurship)

Softball (3): Lauren Eisenreich (Psychology), Stevie Pierce (Psychology), Natalie Rose (Criminology)

Women's Basketball (2): Lacey Boshe (Cell & Molecular Biology), Christiana Shorter (Criminology)

Women's Golf (2): Amy Bowen (Marketing Management), Emma Clegg (Geotourism)

Women's Soccer (8): Logan Bisbee (Biology Education), Kelly Caldwell (Fashion Merchandising), Katelyn Frederickson (Dietetics), Jody McFarlen (Multimedia Studies), Jeny McGrath (Exercise & Movement Science), Amy Patterson (Criminology), Michelle Sommer (Cell & Molecular Biology), Chelsea    Voet (Exercise & Movement Science)

Women's Swimming & Diving (5): Skylar Allen (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration), Jordynn Brown (Elementary Education), Amber Green (Logistics and Supply Chain Management), Rachel Looker (Geology), Brittany Winter (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration).

Women's Track & Field (6): Jordan Bond (Graphic Design), Andrea    Marshall (General Business), Monica Smith (Public Relations), Ashton Stubbs (Exercise & Movement Science), Maggie Sutor (Exercise & Movement Science), Nicole Thate (Exercise & Movement Science).

Field Hockey (1): Jennifer Portell (M.S., Sports Management)

Men's Basketball (1): Isaiah Rhine (M.S., Speech-Language Pathology)

Men's Swimming & Diving (1): Ignacio Gayo (M.S., Sports Management)

Women's Swimming & Diving (1): Torrie Villasenor (GRCT, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)


Past Virgil Cheek Award Recipients
1955    Jerry Anderson, basketball-track
1956    Ron Whitaker, football
1957    George Simpson, track
1958    Max Oldham, basketball
1959    Russ Robinson, basketball
1960    Charlie Finley, football-track
1961    Jerry Stockard, basketball
1962    Carl Wilks, basketball
1963    Edsel Matthews, basketball
1964    Rich Johanningmeier, football
1965    Jerry Boyer, football
1966    Dan Young, football
1967    Bill Douglass, football-track
1968    Dennis Scott, football
1969    Danny Cook, baseball
1970    Bill Lamberson, track
1971    Chuck Williams, basketball
1972    Bob Curl, basketball-track
1973    Eric Thompson, basketball
1974    Randy Magers, basketball-baseball
1975    Bob Grana, football
1976    Kent Stringer, football
1977    John Prasuhn, track-cross country
1978    Terry Kasper, football-baseball
1979    Ron Snider, baseball
1980    Mitch Ware, football
1981    Bobby Biser, golf
1982    Mark Daniels, football
1983    Darrin Newbold, football
1984    Anthony Boggs, basketball
1985    Brian Smith, basketball
1986    Phil Schlegel, basketball
1987    Scott Hickox, basketball
1988    Preston Estes, football
1989    Scott Hartwig, football
1990    Chris Stange, basketball
1991    Jeff Eiserman, golf
1992    Tim McDuffey, football
1993    Chad Lakin, baseball
1994    Jim Prendergast, wrestling
1995    Chad Gardner, cross country-track
1996    Dan Kneeshaw, football-baseball
1997    Brad Barnes, soccer
1998    Neal McNamara, tennis
1999    Derek Jensen, football
2000    Brad St. Louis, football
2001    Matt White, football
2002    Jason Ringena, football
2003    Blake Boldon, cross country-track
2004    Rishi Garbharran, tennis
2005    Brad Durham, football
2006    Nathan Platz, soccer
2007    Mike Radon, football
2008    David Tillman, football
2009    Chris Playter, baseball
2010    Justin Fuehrmeyer, basketball
2011    David Arkin, football
2012    Heath Melugin, soccer
2013    Daily Young, golf



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