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  March 10, 2003

Many Varsity Athletes Excel As Scholars, Too

Jennifer Cooley is anxious to get back on the water. Unfortunately, the lake the women's rowing team is usually cutting through about this time of year is covered with several feet of ice. So Cooley will have to settle for the classroom - another place where she's very comfortable.

Cooley, an eighth-semester education major, heads the long list of UConn scholar athletes who were honored during halftime of the Feb. 16 women's basketball game against Seton Hall. The New Hartford resident scored perfect 4.0 grade point averages each of the last two semesters and, since arriving at UConn, has an impressive overall GPA of 3.96.

Image: Advisor Vernon Percy with football players Ernest Cole and Taurien Sowell.

Football players Ernest Cole, an accounting major, center, and Taurien Sowell, an exploratory major, meet with their advisor Vernon Percy, a counselor with the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes, to discuss classes for next semester. Cole was one of many student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher last semester.

Photo by Dollie Harvey

Cooley is student teaching this semester and, after earning her master's in education next year, expects to teach third grade in either Maine or New Hampshire.

Cooley was one of six scholar athletes to earn a 4.0 last semester. Overall, 205 athletes made the Dean's List in the fall semester, surpassing the 202 who joined the elite group last spring. One hundred fourteen scholar-athletes, including 17 team managers and trainers, made the list both semesters.

To be included on the Dean's List at UConn, students must carry at least 12 credit hours, rank in the upper 25th percentile of students in the school or college in which they are enrolled, and can have no lower than a "C" in any course. In some schools, the criteria are extremely tough, particularly in the School of Education, where students usually need close to 4.0 to make the Dean's List, and the School of Allied Health Professions, where the cut-off is often near 3.7.

"For student athletes to be able to achieve the Dean's List while training for at least 20 hours a week, traveling, and submitting themselves to the physical and psychological pressure to perform, takes incredible diligence and discipline," says Bruce Cohen, director of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes. "It's just an incredible accomplishment."

The 205 scholar athletes attaining the Dean's List represents about 35 percent of UConn's nearly 600 varsity athletes. About 24 percent of UConn students make the mark each semester.

On April 9, the 24 highest-achieving student-athletes, scholars who not only exhibit excellence in the classroom and on the fields of play but who also have overcome adversity, will be honored during the National Student-Athlete Day Dinner. The banquet will be held in the ballroom of the Lewis B. Rome Commons in South Campus.