Eleven Student Athletes Earn Degrees

Aug. 20, 2012

RUSTON - Eleven Louisiana Tech student athletes received degrees during the University's summer commencement exercises held at the Thomas Assembly Center Thursday.

Bulldog football player Chandler Spence, who will complete his collegiate playing career this season, earned his master's in business administration in only four years and one quarter of school. Spence will lead the Bulldogs into their season opener against Texas A&M Aug. 30 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport.

Spence was joined in the MBA program by former Lady Techster volleyball player Bianca Bin, who lettered four years for the program while earning her bachelor's and master's degrees.

Seven other Tech student athletes earned their undergraduate degrees, including Justin Gordey (baseball, kinesiology), Jamel Johnson (football, sociology), Philip Longino (football, management), Matt Nelson (football, finance), Josh Parrish (football, liberal arts), Cody Santone (golf, economics) and Angie Felton (women's basketball, sociology).

Two former student athletes also picked up degrees as Billy Ray Walker (track and field, liberal arts) and Shaun Haughton (track and field, master's in industrial and organizational psychology) both received diplomas.

As a whole, Louisiana Tech's student athletes continue to shine in the classroom as 94 of them earned Academic All-WAC honors last year.

This past June, Louisiana Tech saw impressive improvements in the majority of its Academic Progress Rates (APR) while all 16 of its NCAA sanctioned programs are penalty free for the second consecutive year.

Tech saw nine of its programs record their highest multi-year APR scores ever while five registered their highest single year APR score ever. Four of the programs also earned a perfect 1,000 score on the single year rate while men's golf registered a perfect 1,000 on its multi-year rate, earning Jeff Parks Bulldogs an NCAA APR Award for finishing in the top 10 percent.

In the most recent Federal Graduation Rate Report released last fall, Louisiana Tech's student-athletes reached another all-time high in the classroom as the University recorded its highest student-athlete Graduation Success Rate (GSR) ever. Tech's student-athletes recorded a four-year graduation success rate of 72 percent which ranks as the second highest in the state among Division I football-playing public institutions and among the best in the nation.

LA Tech's graduation success rate - which was two percentage points better than the previous record-high of 70 - easily outdistances the state average of 66 percent among the other nine Division I football-playing public institutions in the state of Louisiana.

Tech also recorded the second highest federal graduation rate of any state school at 56 percent, trailing only Tulane.

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