PLNU has won the 2016 President’s Award for Academic Excellence — claiming the top honor for the first time since joining the NCAA Division II three years ago. The Sea Lions have climbed through the university rankings over the past three years, from taking third place in 2014, to placing second in 2015, and now finishing first in 2016. The award is a direct reflection of the hard work of PLNU student-athletes, who increased their Academic Success Rate (ASR) to 99 percent in 2016 on top of their athletic triumphs.
This ASR marks the percentage of student-athletes who graduate within six years of initial collegiate enrollment and includes virtually all Division II student-athletes, including transfers and those not receiving athletic scholarships. For reference, the national ASR for Division II student-athletes is 71 percent.
President Bob Brower stated, “I’m very pleased with the academic success of our student-athletes and their success in timely graduation. Our faculty and coaches work together to serve PLNU students in their academic pursuits while continuing full participation in intercollegiate competition.”
Impressively, during the last three years that PLNU has been a part of the NCAA Division II, seven of the Sea Lions’ 11 teams have qualified for NCAA postseason play and seven PLNU student-athletes have been named All-Americans.
“I am extremely proud and am deeply impressed by both our current and former student-athletes,” said Ethan Hamilton, PLNU’s athletic director. “In addition, I am very thankful to our coaches, staff, and the rest of our campus who take great pride in graduating our students. This is a very special honor.”
PLNU led 26 Division II member schools that will be honored as part of the program for achieving four-year ASRs of 90 percent or higher. Directly following PLNU was Bentley University, Saint Michael’s College, and Hillsdale College. All three achieved a 98 percent ASR.
“Division II’s philosophy is built on a commitment to supporting the whole student, including academic success as a primary emphasis,” said Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University and chair of the Division II President’s Council.
PLNU’s emphasis on holistic education and a supportive community has served as a natural complement to this philosophy from the NCAA Division II program, allowing the university to quickly set itself apart. Whether in the classroom, on the court or playing field, or in service to the community, PLNU student-athletes are doing us proud.