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Robert Morris Claims 2012 NEC Institutional Academic Award

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pittsburgh -- The Robert Morris University department of athletics was honored Tuesday for its work in the classroom, as it was bestowed the 2012 Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award in a release by the conference office.

RMU student-athletes that compete in 20 NEC sports combined to post a 3.279 grade point average (GPA) during the 2011-12 academic year to establish a new NEC record and claim the coveted award for the first time. The Colonials edged out Saint Francis (Pa.) (3.268), Wagner (3.268) and Fairleigh Dickinson (3.255) for the top spot.

"We are extremely proud of our student-athletes for receiving such a prestigious honor in the Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award," said RMU Director of Athletics Craig Coleman, M.D. "While our fans see all of their accomplishments in competition, what they don't see is their hard work in the classroom. Thanks to this honor, their hard work is recognized. The support our student-athletes receive from Sean Simmons, our Associate Athletic Director, the RMU Center for Student Success and all of our coaches and staff has helped them achieve this award."

The NEC Institutional Academic Award is presented annually to the NEC member who attains the highest overall institutional GPA amongst student-athletes competing in sports sponsored by the NCAA Division I conference. The NEC sponsors a total of 23 sports.

Robert Morris not only improved on its 3.221 GPA from the 2010-11 academic year, but the 3.279 figure represents the high water mark for the NEC since the award was first established in 2006-07. The Colonials had 17 of their 20 programs record a GPA in excess of 3.00, led by the women's cross country squad with a program-best 3.785.

"Congratulations to Robert Morris University for earning its first-ever NEC Institutional Academic Award, an accomplishment which is especially impressive given the high level of competition they faced from the student-athletes at Saint Francis University, Wagner, Fairleigh Dickinson and others," said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. "The fact that we continue to reach record highs, both at the institutional and conference levels, demonstrates the incredible commitment the NEC membership places on the academic accomplishments of its student-athletes."

Overall, the NEC's 4,800+ student-athletes averaged a record-high 3.163 GPA for the 2011-12 academic year, and 11 of the league's 12 core member institutions finished the year with at least a 3.00 GPA.

In addition to earning the 2012 NEC Institutional Academic Award, a total of seven teams from RMU were recognized for compiling the best GPA in their respective sports.

In addition to the honor for the women's cross country (3.785) squad, both women's indoor and outdoor track & field finished with the highest team GPA in the NEC at 3.545. Also earning team GPA awards in 2011-12 from RMU were women's volleyball (3.655), softball (3.650), women's lacrosse (3.380) and men's lacrosse (3.140).

Claiming the 2012 NEC Institutional Academic Award caps a banner year for Robert Morris student-athletes in the classroom during the 2011-12 year. A total of five Colonials were named NEC Student-Athlete of the Year in their respective sports, including Nolan Nearhoof (football), Hannah Veith (volleyball), Casey Folga (indoor track & field), Kiel Matisz (men's lacrosse) and Jaci Timko (softball).

In addition, a total of 213 of RMU's 428 student-athletes (49.8 percent) that compete in RMU's 20 sponsored sports by the league appeared on an NEC Academic Honor Roll in the fall, winter or spring, which honors individuals that compile a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher.

RMU's three sports that don't compete in the NEC, which include men's and women's ice hockey and women's rowing, also excelled in the classroom, posting team GPA's of 3.58, 3.33 and 3.31, respectively.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.