Penn State Tallies 165 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars - Penn State Athletics (2024)

Academics

The Nittany Lions register a record-breaking 32 student-athletes with perfect 4.0 grade point average in 2023-24 academic year

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Athletics had 165 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in the 2023-24 academic year. A record-breaking 32 student-athletes posted unblemished grade point averages breaking the record of 29 during the 2019-20 academic year.

The Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award is presented to student-athletes who have recorded a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher during the previous academic year.

The athletic department's academic success includes 426 student-athletes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors and 186 Nittany Lions who graduated during the 2023-24 academic year.

Penn State Big Ten Distinguished Scholar totals since 2017-18:
2023-24: 165
2022-23: 174
2021-22: 157 
2020-21: 183*
2019-20: 144*
2018-19: 117
2017-18: 90
* - alternate grading system used due to COVID-19

The 32 student-athletes who posted perfect 4.0 GPAs during the 2023-24 academic year were: Connor Throneberry (baseball), Maddie Gordon (softball), Emily Maddock (softball), Kaitlyn Morrison (softball), Alli Campbell (women's basketball), Aidan Johnson (men's fencing), Arianna Proietti (women's fencing), Brie Barraco (field hockey), Carly Gannon (field hockey), Gery Schnarrs (field hockey), Judson Langille (men's golf), Michael Artlip (men's gymnastics), Will Fleck (men's gymnastics), Maggie Ayers (women's gymnastics), Gabbie Gallentine (women's gymnastics), Julie Gough (women's ice hockey), Christopher Jordan (men's Lacrosse), Kayla Abernathy (women's lacrosse), Gianna Cutatia (women's lacrosse), Sammy Dupcak (women's lacrosse), Kat Asman (women's soccer), Olivia Damico (women's soccer), Cori Dyke (women's soccer), Amanda Poorbaugh (women's soccer), Natalie Wilson (women's soccer), Mackenzie Clark (women's swim & dive), Morgan Rinn (women's swim & dive), Makenna Krebs (women's track & field), Maddie Pitts (women's track & field), Tesia Thomas (women's track & field), Alexa Marklev (women's volleyball) and Brian Borden (wrestling).

Seven programs tied or beat their previous team high for distinguished scholars. Those teams were: women's basketball, women's gymnastics, men's hockey, men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, women's track & field and women's volleyball.

Women's lacrosse led the way for the second consecutive year with 20 academic honorees. Women's track & field followed closely behind with 18. On the men's side, men's lacrosse recorded the highest number of honorees with 10.

The 165 honorees boosts Penn State to a total of 1,634 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars since the program was established by the Big Ten Faculty Representatives in 2008-09 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program.

Similar to the Academic All-Big Ten honor, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must be in at least their second academic year at their institution. The Distinguished Scholar Award encompasses only students with a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year, excluding summer school.

Graduation Success Rates 
Penn State student-athletes continue to register record-breaking graduation rates and perform well above their peers nationwide. The Nittany Lions posted a record-tying 93% NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and 13 programs earned perfect 100% ratings. This is the seventh consecutive year the Nittany Lions posted a record or record-tying performance in the classroom, according to data reported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  

The NCAA's annual graduation rates report of Division I institutions across the nation revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 93% to break the school's all-time record, which was previously set in the 2020, 2021 and NCAA reports. Nittany Lion students posted a 93% graduation rate compared to the 90% average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2013-14 through the 2016-17 academic year. 
  
Penn State student-athletes have logged a Graduation Success Rate in the 88-93% range during each of the past 17 NCAA reports, improving from 88% in the 2015 report to a record-breaking 93% report in the most recent report. 

Penn State Among the Nation's Premier Athletic Programs in Comprehensive Excellence 
Under the leadership of Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Patrick Kraft, Penn State has one of the nation's most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men's, 15 women's). The Nittany Lions' 31 programs are tied for the fourth-highest number of sports sponsored by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution. 
  
Penn State student-athletes earned a record 93% NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and 12 programs earned perfect 100% ratings in the 2023 report. This is the seventh consecutive year the Nittany Lions have posted a record or record-tying performance in the classroom. Penn State is one of only six schools that have won at least 10 NCAA Championships since 2013 and earned at least a 90 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in the 2023 NCAA report (California, Florida, Stanford, USC, Virginia). 

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Penn State Tallies 165 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars - Penn State Athletics (2024)
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