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Mercyhurst athletes at top of game in classroom

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mercyhurst University’s 650 student-athletes are an integral part of the college community; they provide entertainment, build camaraderie and instill Laker pride.

Though most of us see their competitive skills on the fields and courts, the ice and waterways, the trails and links, the members of Mercyhurst’s 24 varsity teams also compete successfully in the classroom.

Based on the fall and winter seasons, the university’s student-athletes recorded an overall GPA of 3.1, according to a report just released by Mercyhurst Athletic Director Joe Kimball. Women’s basketball holds the highest GPA at 3.545; men’s tennis ranks highest among the men’s teams at 3.505. Only two teams fall below a 3.0, the lowest being a 2.8.

“We strive for life in the balance, integrating academics and athletics in a comprehensive plan to produce a well-rounded student ready to make a lifetime of impact,” Kimball said. “Our performance in the classroom, both GPAs and graduation rates, are a testament to the efforts of our students, the priority placed on academics by coaches and support received by faculty."

Senior Lauren Kenny of Erie (at right) is a prime example. Not only has she delivered on the volleyball court for four seasons, but she is a double major in intelligence studies and political science, two demanding fields of study. Her GPA is 3.9.

“I actually think playing a sport in college and having that kind of structure helps with time management, which is something you really need to balance everything,” Kenny said. “You never want to leave anything until the last minute because if you are up at 2 or 3 in the morning, you know that can’t be good for academics or athletics.”

Junior computer systems major Nenad Terzic of Serbia (at left) is a star tennis player for Mercyhurst and holds a 3.76 GPA. He finds the discipline of a full schedule a plus.

“I’d probably procrastinate if I didn’t have a busy schedule,” he said. “I think you learn to value your time, and not to waste it. You can organize your days so that there’s time for everything – to study, to practice, to socialize.”

Mercyhurst President Michael T. Victor has long been a proponent of collegiate athletics and the incredible dynamic it brings to a university environment. And, yet, he said “Our primary goal as an institution is to educate. That our students can make the grade in their sports and in their classrooms is an accomplishment in which we take great pride.”