Virtual commencement features heavy NSU athletic flavor

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Collage of graduates (top row L to R): Track and Field's Brooke Petkovich (with coach Mike Heimerman), women's basketball's Kira Bonner and tennis' Judit Castillo Gargallo. Bottom row (L to R): Baseball's Lenni Kunert, football's Shelton Eppler and Gavin Landry and volleyball's Kourtney Seaton.

A virtual commencement ceremony was new for Northwestern State students, but the presence of a larger number of current and former student-athletes was old hat.

 

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Record-setting quarterback Shelton Eppler and nine members of the history-making 2018 Northwestern State baseball team highlighted 79 current or former Northwestern State student-athletes and staff members who received their degrees during Friday morning’s virtual commencement ceremony.

 

In addition to the graduates, Friday’s keynote speaker, 2018 Miss Louisiana Holli Conway, is a former Northwestern State women’s track and field competitor.

 

Eppler, a cum laude business administration graduate, rewrote the Northwestern State passing record books in just two seasons after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College and leaves NSU with 19 single-game, season and career records. He is one of 19 football student-athletes who earned their degrees Friday.

 

Among the nine members of the Demon baseball team that captured the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament crown – the first in program history – picking up degrees Friday included pitcher Kyle Swanson, who became a two-time Northwestern State alumnus after completing his master’s degree in health and human performance with a concentration in health promotion. He was joined as Friday graduates by teammates Peyton Davis, Chaney Dodge, Ridge Heisler, Lenni Kunert, Donovan Ohnoutka, Tyler Pigott, Cameron Taylor and Jose Vasquez, the winning pitcher in the tournament championship game.

 

A pair of Lady Demons – soccer goalkeeper Kayla Bomben and track and field jumper Brooke Petkovich graduated with 4.0 grade point averages – were part of a seven student-athlete contingent that earned summa cum laude honors, carrying at least a 3.9 GPA. Joining Bomben and Petkovich were Judit Castillo Gargallo (tennis), Tevyn Johnson (football), Gavin Landry (football), Megan Lohmiller (volleyball), Elise Vincent (softball) and Alexis Warren (softball). Former baseball player Carson Goldsmith, a 2012 Minnesota Twins draftee, also completed his degree with summa cum laude honors.

 

Warren was a third-team All-Southland Conference selection in 2019 and earned second-team Academic All-SLC honors. Heisler earned third-team All-SLC honors in 2018 while Kunert represented Northwestern State on the 2018 NCAA Corvallis All-Region Team.

 

Goldsmith was not the only former Demon standout who completed his degree as Clifton Lee, one of the key members of the 2005-06 “Demons of Destiny” who upset Iowa in the NCAA Tournament, officially became an NSU alumnus.

In addition to the eight summa cum laude graduates, seven student-athletes earned magna cum laude (3.70-3.89 GPA) designation while another eight were cum laude (3.5-3.69) graduates.

 

Spring 2020 Athletic Graduation List (75)

Baseball (12)

  1. Hayden Brown: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: Social Science; Honors:  Cum Laude
  2. Peyton Davis: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  3. Chaney Dodge: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Minor: Pre-Law & Paralegal Studies; Honors: Honor Roll
  4. Carson Goldsmith (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  5. Ridge Heisler (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: History; Minor:  Social Science
  6. Lenni Kunert: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: P. E., Sport and Leisure Management; Honors:  Honor Roll
  7. Donovan Ohnoutka: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Finance; Honors: Cum Laude
  8. Tyler Pigott (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration
  9. Payton Stafford (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Accounting; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  10. Kyle Swanson: Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Health Promotion
  11. James Cameron Taylor: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  12. Jose Vasquez-Sanzsole (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration

    Men’s Basketball (4)

  1. Melvin Bates Jr. (Junior varsity): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Marketing; Honors: Honor Roll
  2. Jacob Guest: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Honor Roll
  3. Latavein Dominique Kennedy: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: Social Science
  4. Clifton Lee Jr. (former student-athlete): Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Computer and Natural Science; Minor: Social Science

    Women’s Basketball (5)

  1. Chequira Bonner: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Unified Public Safety Administration; Concentration: Public Facilities Management; Honors: Honor Roll
  2. Jasmyn Johnson: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Honor Roll
  3. Nia Randall: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Management; Honors: Honor Roll
  4. Jocelyn Scott: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Computer and Natural Science; Minor: Mathematics; Honors: Honor Roll
  5. China Young (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Majors: Business Administration and Accounting; Minor: Computer Information Systems; Honors: Honor Roll

    Football (19)

  6. Tanner Ash: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Honor Roll
  7. Austin Averitt (former student-athlete): Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Computer and Natural Science; Minor: Mathematics; Honors:  Honor Roll
  8. Demetrius Boulieu Jr. (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College Business and Technology; Major: Industrial Engineering Technology; Honors: Honor Roll
  9. Ricky Chatman: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Industrial Engineering Technology
  10. Khalil Corbett-Canada: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Majors: Addiction Studies and Psychology; Honors: Honor Roll
  11. Ian Edwards: Bachelor of Fine Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Fine and Graphic Arts; Concentration: Studio Art
  12. Shelton Eppler: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Cum Laude
  13. Benaiah Franklin: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: Social Science
  14. Brodrick (Brody) Griffin: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology
  15. Jalen Haydel: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Electronics Engineering Technology; Concentration: Electronics; Honors: Cum Laude
  16. O’Shea Jackson: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: Social Science
  17. Tevyn Johnson (former student-athlete) Bachelor of Arts; College: Louisiana Scholars’ College; Major: Liberal Arts; Concentration: Scientific Inquiry; Thesis: “Butting Heads with Safety: Do College Football Players Know the Risks of Play?”; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  18. Gavin Landry: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Finance; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  19. Cameron Lazare (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Computer Information Systems; Concentration: Cyber Security
  20. Marc Paz (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science
  21. Desmond Prejean: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Concentration: Pre-Physical Therapy; Honors: Cum Laude
  22. Lawson Scott (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Minor: Chemistry; Honors: Cum Laude
  23. Malik Sonnier: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology
  24. Blake Stephenson: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Magna Cum Laude

    Soccer (2)

  25. Kayla Bomben: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Concentration: Pre-Physical Therapy; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  26. Courtney LeJeune: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Honors: Honor Roll

    Softball (8)

  1. Summer Atkins (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education and Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Concentration: Pre-Occupational Therapy; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  2. Mariah Denson (Also Academic Service Intern): Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Arts and Communications; Minor: Communication; Honors: Honor Roll
  3. Samantha Guile: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology
  4. Emma Hawthorne: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Cum Laude
  5. Toni Hebert (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Honor Roll
  6. Kaitlyn St. Clair: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Concentration: Pre-Occupational Therapy; Honors: Cum Laude
  7. Adele Vincent:  Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Physical Education Grades K-12; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  8. Elise Vincent: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Minor: Chemistry; Honors: Summa Cum Laude

    Tennis (2)

  1. Judit Castillo-Gargallo: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  2. Elzbieta Iwaniuk:  Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Physical Science; Concentration: Chemistry; Honors: Cum Laude

    Men’s Track (4)

  1. Lorence Ballow (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education and Human Development; Major: Psychology
  2. Anthony (Blake) Cantrell (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Criminal Justice; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  3. LaRon James: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Honor Roll
  4. Charlie Milton (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Minor: Computer Information Systems

    Women’s Track (7)

  1. Sydney Cowgill: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Management; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  2. Kristin McDuffie: Bachelor of Applied Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Resource Management; Concentration: Human Resource Management
  3. Deja Moore: Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Criminal Justice; Honors:  Honor Roll
  4. Brooke Petkovich: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Concentration: Pre-Physical Therapy; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  5. Jameria Smith (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education and Human Development; Major: Child and Family Studies; Concentration: Child Development and Family Relations; Minor: Social Science
  6. Majorie Thompson: Bachelor of Social Work; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Social Work; Minor: Criminal Justice
  7. Courtney Willis (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Accounting; Honors: Honor Roll

    Volleyball (3)

  1. Megan Lohmiller: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Majors: Business Administration and Accounting; Concentration: Finance; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  2. Kourtney Seaton:  Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Minor: Spanish; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  3. Alexis Warren: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Majors: Business Administration and Accounting; Concentration: Finance; Honors: Summa Cum Laude

    Administration (13)

  1. Jonas Brobeck (Asst. Coach/Tennis): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration (Perfect 4.0 GPA)
  2. Katherine Bryant (Tutor): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Elementary Education, Honors: Cum Laude
  3. Travon Carter (GA/Football and Academic Services): Master of Arts; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Student Affairs in Higher Education
  4. Samantha Clark (Intern/Sports Information): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Communication; Concentration: Strategic Communication; Minor: Hospitality Management and Tourism; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  5. Steffen Gawor (Asst. Coach/Soccer): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration (Perfect 4.0 GPA!)
  6. Kelsey Gilbert (Former GA/Ticket Office): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration
  7. Autumn Hanks (Student Manager/Women’s Basketball): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Criminal Justice
  8. Isabel Melhado (Tutor): Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Honors: Cum Laude
  9. Joaquin Espliguero Orts (Tutor): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  10. Emily Sitarz (GA/Marketing (also former Women/s Track SA)): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration
  11. Sidney Spinks (Tutor): Bachelor of Science: College: Arts & Sciences; Major: Biology
  12. Hunter Wright (GA/Sports Medicine): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration
  13. Jonathon Zenk (GA/Sports Information): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration