Seattle Pacific University was recognized as one of 32 Division II schools around the nation to achieve a four-year Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90 percent or higher.
The NCAA honored all schools involved with a Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence last week on Nov. 16 in Indianapolis.
With an ASR of 97 percent, SPU tied for the second highest in all of Division II.
The ASR refers to the percentage of student athletes who graduate within six years of their initial college enrollment. This includes transfers as well as the athletes who are not receiving scholarships.
The nation’s ASR for student athletes who entered college between 2007-10 is 72 percent, significantly lower than SPU’s strong 97 percent.
“To be in the top three or four schools in the country with the academic success rate of our student athletes is remarkable accomplishment,” athletic director Jackson Stava said.
Stava believes that SPU’s academic success can be attributed to a unique combination of numerous people and their actions.
“Yes you need great student athletes that care deeply about their studies and choose an institution for more than just their sport, but choose it because it is the right place to further their education,” Stava said. “But also it really does take coaches, athletic administration, and it especially takes facility that are willing to all work together for the development of students.”
Since arriving at SPU in 2016, Stava and the rest of the athletic department have been trying to implement more avenues for student athletes to succeed in the classroom as well as in their sport.
However, Stava also recognizes that Seattle Pacific has always been very academically strong and therefore does not take all the credit for the prestigious award.
“I think the folks we hire and the folks we choose to have as staff and coaches within our department all buy into the mission at this institution,” Stava said.
SPU is one of just two schools in the GNAC to be honored with a Presidents’ Award.
It is also one of only five in the West Region, which includes three conferences, GNAC, Pacific West and California Collegiate Athletic Association.
The number of student athletes who were named in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic team this season further highlights the academic strength of SPU as an institution and the desire of student athletes to do well in their studies.
Eight players from the volleyball team were named as All-Academic, tying a school record which was set back in 2014.
Libero Sophie Kuehl and outside hitter Colleen Hannigan were named for their third consecutive year.
SPU’s cross-country team also had eight selectees in the GNAC All-Academic team.
Seven women from the team and one male made up the eight, with seniors Mary Charleson, Hailey Kettel and Chynna Phan leading the way.
Three men’s soccer players, midfielder Jess Cayetano, forward Gabe Kellum and defender Ryan Higgins were also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Team for NCAA Division II student-athletes, along with women’s soccer player Simone Herzberg.
These four Falcons were among just 24 players honored for their excellence both on the field and in the classroom.
These great results only create further drive within the athletic department of SPU to increase the ASR percentage in the years to come as well as the number of student athletes to be named as All-Academic.
“We will always be looking for ways to continue to improve and help all student athletes in their journey,” Stava said. “But to think that more than 95 percent of our students are progressing towards their degree appropriately, graduating on time, is an extraordinary number.