UCF Honors Record Number of Student-Athletes for Work in the Classroom

April 10, 2006

ORLANDO - A record 375 student-athletes were honored for their excellence in the classroom during the fifth annual UCF Athletics Scholars and Service Awards ceremony at the UCF Alumni Center on Monday night.

The 375 Golden Knights recognized were those student-athletes that earned a 3.0 or better grade-point-average during either semester of the 2005 calendar year with 43 receiving distinction as Knights of the Roundtable with a 4.0 GPA. Meanwhile, 142 were dubbed Knights of Honor with GPA's between 3.50-3.99 and another 190 received awards as Shining Knights with GPA's between 3.00-3.49.

"The student-athletes set new standards of excellence in the classroom this past semester as 11 of the 17 varsity teams exceeded a 3.0 team-GPA and 52% of all athletes earned a 3.0 or better," said Mark Gumble, the director of UCF's Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA). "We are proud of the effort and commitment our outstanding student-athletes have displayed in the classroom. It is also a testament to their family members, coaches, support staff and administrators who have encouraged them along the way. These scholar-athletes add to the fabric of excellence at UCF and we congratulate all on their personal success."

Women's tennis and men's golf were rewarded for the highest team GPA's with 3.32 and 3.40, respectively, while men's golf also received recognition for the most improved GPA.

Four student-athletes were selected to receive further individual honors. Headlining the list were the scholar-athletes of the year - seniors Courtney Baines from women's soccer and Dan Veenstra from football.

In turn, the scholar-athletes gave the UCF Golden Apple Inspiration Award to the UCF faculty member who had been most instrumental in the student's collegiate career. Baines presented to Dr. Lee Cross, UCF's coordinator of exceptional education, while Veenstra chose to bestow the honor to Julie Cheney, the coordinator of the business school's undergraduate and student support programs.

The Shining Knight Award given to the student-athlete who applies extra effort to succeed in the classroom and on the field was renamed the Dr. Bill Callarman Award to honor UCF's long-time NCAA faculty representative who retired in 2005 after 24 years of service to the university. Seniors LaShay King of women's basketball and Cedric Gagne-Marcoux of football received the newly dubbed award.

Gagne-Marcoux was also one of 17 student-athletes recognized for his community service. Among the others were Bryan Bennett (baseball), Will Bakanowsky (men's basketball), Shayla Smith (women's basketball), Paul Nielsen (men's cross country), Allison Palmer (women's cross country), Stefan Wistorf (men's golf), Jessica Trein (women's golf), Kristin Roach (women's rowing), Mike Mattson (men's soccer), Kate Begley (women's soccer), Kacie Feaster (softball), Katie Morris (spirit program), Jimmy Roesch (men's tennis), Pamela Fernandez (women's tennis), Tracy Fischler (women's track and field) and Jana Mitchell (women's volleyball).