Valparaiso University awarded 113 student-athletes with Presidential Academic Honors while also handing out the Laurel Award at the 21st Annual Student-Athletes Academic Honors Banquet held on Sunday evening in the Harre Union.
Presidential Academic Honors are awarded to student-athletes who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.25-or-higher after at least two semesters at Valpo.
Michael Woodson (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft H.S.), a member of the men’s tennis team, was presented with the annual Laurel Award, honoring the graduating senior student-athlete who achieved the highest cumulative grade point average. Woodson is a biology, chemistry, and exercise science triple major.
Woodson was also the lone individual to earn the Finishing at the Top honors this year, given to graduating seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.9 or higher.
Eleven individuals were honored as Outstanding Student-Athletes for carrying a cumulative grade point average of 3.9 or higher, regardless of their class in school. Swimmer Andrea Bretl (Wauwatosa, Wis./West H.S.), a psychology major, volleyball player Sarah Chrabaszcz (Reedsburg, Wis./Reedsburg Area H.S.), a chemistry and biology double major, basketball player Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.), a French and Spanish double major, and cross country and track athlete Claire Johnson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.) a German and international economics and cultural affairs double major, were among the group honored.
Also recognized were golfer Michelle Kleckner (New Brighton, Minn./Irondale H.S.), a math and secondary education double major, soccer players Kevin Miller (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias H.S.), a physics major, Laura Romberg (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills H.S.), a sociology major, Amanda Ulin (Solon, Iowa/Solon H.S.), a biology major, Todd Vervynckt (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.), a mechanical engineering major, and Kyle Zoebeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West H.S.), a mechanical engineering major, along with Woodson from tennis.
In addition, a pair of senior student-athletes annually speak on their experiences throughout their Crusader careers. This year Woodson joined bowler Amanda Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates H.S.), a sports media major, with the honor of addressing the nearly 200 student-athletes, families, administration members, and professors that were in attendance.
Valparaiso University alum Bob Hansen was the keynote speaker for the evening. Hansen is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Dow Corning Corporation. Hansen has spent 28 years at Dow Corning, and was named to his current role in 2011 after serving as the executive vice president and general manager of the Core Products Business. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Valparaiso University and the Board of Directors of United Way of Midland County, Michigan.