Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo and Learning Resources for Student Athletes Director Ferna Phillips. (File photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Joining Boston College in the magazine's Top 20 were Stanford, Duke, Georgetown and Penn State universities, and the universities of Michigan and Maryland.
"This is a really great honor for Boston College," said Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo. "I've often said that Boston College truly expresses the meaning of the term 'student-athlete,' and it's nice to know that people not directly involved with BC feel so strongly about the institution and its athletic component.
"There's no question that our student-athletes and coaches deserve the majority of the credit," DeFilippo said. "But I also want to thank the people in the Learning Resources for Student Athletes office and so many others connected to our institution who have helped in so many different ways to make this athletic department so special."
The most recent NCAA Graduation Rates Report indicates that 83 percent of all Boston College student-athletes entering in 1994-95 have received their degrees. More than 800 Boston College students participate in intercollegiate athletics in any given year.
The University's graduation rate for all students entering in the 1994-95 academic year is 86 percent, according to the NCAA report.
Ferna Phillips, director of LRSA, says that the University's high athletic graduation rate is also due in part to "the tremendous cooperation of our faculty and coaches. So much depends on the relationships that we build between these components." LRSA staff members monitor the academic progress of student-athletes on a continuing basis, and provide academic advisement, tutorial and study assistance when needed, she said.
"We try to build a 'triangle' with the faculty and coaches with the student-athlete in the center," Phillips said. "There is a vested interest among all of the parties to have a successful student-athlete."
Boston College sponsors 34 men's and women's varsity teams. In recent years, the football, women's and men's basketball teams and men's hockey teams have been ranked in the national Top 25 polls, and the men's and women's soccer teams, field hockey and women's cross-country teams have qualified for NCAA championship team competition.
The University also received an award in recognition of its efforts to assist former student-athletes in completing degree requirements.
Phillips was presented with the honor by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports at their convention last month in Orlando, Fla.
The award recognizes efforts made by institutions to locate former student-athletes who may have left school prior to graduation and facilitate the completion of the student's undergraduate degree requirements. Many of the student-athletes in this category had opted to withdraw from school to start a professional sports career.
Phillips said three former Boston College student-athletes returned to complete their degree programs during the past two years.
"It's nice to be honored for this work," Phillips said, "but it is something that we would do anyway."
Few Boston College student-athletes fall into this category, Phillips said, as University administrators encourage all student-athletes to complete their undergraduate degree in four years, even if they still have athletic eligibility remaining. She said that these students are advised to pursue a second academic major or start work on a master's degree while completing sports eligibility.
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