DAYTON, Ohio –
The University of Dayton held its undergraduate commencement this Sunday, May 8 in UD Arena. More than 1,300 undergrads participated in commencement exercises and more than 60 degrees were conferred upon Flyer student-athletes.
Dayton has had unprecedented success during the tenure of this senior class; both academically and athletically.
Some of the athletic accomplishments of this senior class include:
- 16 NCAA Tournament appearances
- 19 conference team championships in the last four years. In the Fall of 2009, no Division I program in the nation had more conference titles than UD’s five
- 3 teams (football, women’s soccer, volleyball) nationally ranked at the end of the same season (Fall, 2010) for the first time in school history. In the last four years, men’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and rowing have also been nationally ranked.
- Several A-10 Individual Track and Field Champions
- Dayton’s first-ever Men’s Cross Country Atlantic 10 Individual Champion
- UD’s first-ever Varsity 8 boat Atlantic 10 Women’s Rowing Championship
- 3 Pioneer Football League Titles
- Through May 1, UD is the highest-ranked school in the Atlantic 10 in this year's Learfield Cup Standings.
The academic numbers are just as impressive:
- 94 GSR which is among the nation’s best in the NCAA Graduation Success Report on Division I institutions – tied for 21st in the nation and tied for first in the Atlantic 10.
- 9 Flyer athletics teams that have a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 990 (out of a perfect APR of 1000) – women's basketball, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis, indoor track and outdoor track (women's basketball, men's golf and women's golf have perfect scores).
- 3 UD programs – women's basketball, men's golf and women's golf – have the top APR scores in their respective conferences, while two more – men’s basketball and football – have the second-best.
- Following the Fall 2010 semester, UD student-athletes had a combined grade point average of 3.239 and all 16 programs had a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
On top of those accomplishments, these student-athletes have also done thousands of hours of community service in the Dayton area.
Now these student-athletes are moving on to the next chapter of their stories. Here are some examples of where these UD grads will be making a difference.
Some will continue their careers in their respective sports:
- Men’s basketball player and three-time UD MVP Chris Wright will work out in Indianapolis to prepare for the NBA Draft which will be held on June 23.
- Football players Steve Valentino and James Vercammen are attending pro combines for NFL, CFL and AFL teams.
- 2009 A-10 Volleyball Championship MVP Amanda Cowdrey plans to play for the Canadian National Team with the hopes of competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- 2010 Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year Jerica DeWolfe will return home and play for the D.C. United Women’s Soccer Team of the United Soccer League.
- Grace Doepker, a member of the Flyers’ Varsity 8 team that won the Grand Final at the Atlantic 10 Women’s Rowing Championship, is rowing in New Zealand starting this August.
- Baseball player Michael Coughlin will return to UD next year for his final year of eligibility and also work on his MBA. He will play in a college league this summer in South Carolina.
Several plan to pursue advanced degrees:
- Valentino and Joe Ries are both pursuing their MBAs at UD. Fellow football player Jeff Pechan is pursuing his MBA from Northern Illinois. Tyler Friedrich has an internship with the LSU football strength and conditioning program. Jon Warford is attending medical school at Toledo.
- Men’s soccer player Tommy Watkins has been accepted into the Northwestern Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, while his teammate Henrik Karlsson is planning on attending graduate school in his native Sweden.
- Women’s soccer players Lisa Rodgers (Slippery Rock) and Tori Oelschlager (Northern Arizona) are also pursuing their Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees.
- Volleyball player Anna Eytchison will go back home to St. Louis for a summer internship before attending culinary school in Chicago in September. Teammate Rachael Broerman will travel the country to different hospitals for Epic, a healthcare software company in Wisconsin, and then plans to apply for medical school.
- Softball player Alicia Nichols will pursue her MBA at Dayton, and teammate Emily Stegeman will pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
Some will stay in the Midwest area:
- Football player Justin Watkins is teaching in the Northmont school system. Dan Fornek is teaching in Chicago. Nick Collins and Mike Morante both have sales jobs in Cleveland, while A.J. Kaltenbach has a job in finance and marketing.
- Women's golfer Megan Keating was hired by PNC Bank and will be participating in their management training program.
- Men’s cross country runner Brad Boyd is working in Columbus, Ohio for the CPA firm Schneider Downs. Teammate Matt Lemon will work at Hobart in Troy, Ohio as an electrical engineer.
- Women’s soccer player Kelly Blumenschein is a marketing associate for the Beavercreek, Ohio company Fondriest Environmental. She will also serve as an assistant coach of the Fairmont High School varsity girl’s soccer team. Teammate Alli Giner will be a physician’s assistant in Dayton.
- Volleyball player Tiffany Gaerke is working as a rehabilitation technician in Dayton.
- Women’s basketball player Kristin Daugherty plans to stay in Dayton and work in public relations or marketing. Her teammates Aundrea Lindsey and Ebony Gainey are first-generation college graduates.
- Men’s golfer Jeff Hodapp will work as a funeral director and accountant at his family’s Cincinnati, Ohio business: Hodapp Funeral Homes.
- Men’s basketball player Peter Zestermann is teaching in Cincinnati.
While others will pursue international opportunities:
- Two-time Atlantic 10 Student Athlete of the Year and two-time NCAA qualifier Chris Lemon, an education/Spanish major, will leave for Mexico in August on a Fulbright Grant to teach English.
- Women's golfer Julie Pouliquen will serve in the Peace Corps in Senegal.
- Men’s basketball player Devin Searcy would like to pursue a professional basketball career overseas.
- Prior to starting her job, Blumenschein will visit current UD women’s soccer player Josie Grant in her native England.
And finally, a happy ending; two UD student-athletes will be getting married. Women’s cross country runner /long-distance track standout Maureen Bulgrin and men’s cross country standout Matt Lemon will be married on June 18, 2011. The two All-Atlantic 10 performers were engaged at John Bryan State Park where both the men’s and women’s cross country teams practice.