Coaches, professors, academic advisers and current members gathered in the TAU Bearcat Room on Monday, March 30 for the induction of the National College Athlete Honor Society’s newest class out of Binghamton University. The class of 2015 featured 26 student-athletes at Binghamton, who qualified for the honor in obtaining a 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA by their fifth academic semester.
The NCAHS, founded in 1996 by former DePauw University head football coach Nick Mourouzis, defines itself as a nonprofit organization established to recognize college student-athletes who excel on and off the field. Equal parts recognition and encouragement, Chi Alpha Sigma’s stated purpose is to cultivate a fraternal organization that aligns members’ educational and athletic successes for a lifetime.
“This event is one of our favorite events from the student services staff perspective,” said Ed Scott, the senior associate athletics director for student services. “It really demonstrates the values that the students we bring in as athletes here at Binghamton have. Not only are they tremendous athletes and pursue their athletic endeavors everyday, practicing at least 20 hours a week … they still find the energy and the enthusiasm to be able to go to class, to work hard, do community service opportunities, but then also make sure they’re carrying some of the highest GPAs across campus.”
Binghamton has inducted 285 student-athletes in to the honor society since the Mu chapter opened at the University in 2006. National criteria for selection to the honor society include an endorsement by the head coach of the sport in which the student-athlete has attained a varsity letter, earning a minimum GPA of 3.4 and recommendation by the college or university chapter adviser.
Alicia Goode, Mu chapter adviser, as well as assistant athletics director for student services at Binghamton, conducted the formal induction portion of the ceremony. Each student-athlete, accompanied by a faculty member of his or her choice, was called to the front of the room to receive a green and gold tassel and framed certificate. Current members of the Mu chapter welcomed the new members by presenting them the tassel.
“This is really the only time during the academic year that we actually have faculty here with our student-athletes in this type of setting,” Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott said in his opening remarks. “I think just having faculty members here with our student-athletes, it’s really what it’s all about.”
Among those inducted this year, accounting was the most popular major, with five of the 26 inductees studying the field. Psychology was second, with three studying that major. The highest percentage of inductees were sophomores by their athletic eligibility, with 11 members listed as on course to graduate in 2017. Nine were listed to graduate this May, and the remaining six in 2016.
Men’s track and field junior pole vaulter Chris Nock delivered a speech on behalf of his induction class to close the ceremony. Nock, a history major, acknowledged the perseverance required of each of his peers to achieve such success, and extended a note of gratitude to all those who helped along the way.
“Although we have done a great deal of work to get here, it takes the commitment of many to help us grow and become successful people,” Nock said. “To all of the coaches, teammates and faculty members who have helped us along the way, I would like to thank you for all the support you have given us as we continue to grow each and every day.”
One student, Pascale Trappe, a midfielder on the men’s soccer team and a senior majoring in human development, was unfazed at the widespread success among his peers.
“We have a great student body here,” Trappe said. “In the student-athletic department, people are just working hard. You see them in the success center working on their papers, working for their exams, so it’s just the result of hard work from everyone.”
For Imani Williams, a senior diver on the women’s swimming and diving team, the balance of athletics and academics was strenuous but rewarding. Williams’ high academic honors are complemented by her impressive athletic achievements — at the America East Championships in February, the theater major took first in the one-meter diving event and second in the three-meter diving event.
“[It was] really hard, really very hard,” Williams said of maintaining that balance. “A lot of not resting and a lot of being tired all the time and just trying to work things out. But it’s all worth it now, because I’m a senior and I’m graduating, and I’m glad I did it all. It was painful, I had to have my friends help me with things and my coaches help me with things, but it was worth it.”