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Student-athletes excel on and off the field

Northeastern student-athletes continue to excel on the field and in the classroom, Athletic Director Peter Roby told the Faculty Senate on Wednesday.

In his annual update to the Senate, Roby highlighted the athletic and educational achievements of Northeastern’s 450 Division I student-athletes during the 2012-13 academic year.

“I am happy to say last year was another wonderful year for us,” Roby said. “We not only achieved many of our goals in terms of what we are trying to do on behalf of our student-athletes, but we were also able to have a really successful year with respect to our engagement with alumni and students, as well as our academic achievements.”

Many of Northeastern’s 18 athletic teams had stellar seasons. The men’s soccer team won the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament, while the men’s basketball team won the conference’s regular season title. The women’s hockey team won its 16th Beanpot trophy, the field hockey reached the NCAA Tournament, and the baseball team won more than 30 games for the first time since 1997.

Roby also noted the individual accomplishments of several student-athletes: women’s hockey player Kendall Coyne, who is on leave training with the U.S. Women’s national team for the 2014 Olympics; Don Anding, the men’s soccer star who was drafted by the Philadelphia Union in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft; and Crystal Poland, who was named 2012 CAA field hockey player of the year.

Roby, who thanked Husky fans for their longstanding support of Northeastern athletics, also highlighted the university’s newly opened field hockey facility in Dedham, Mass., and noted the success of the its 42 club sport teams—half of which competed in their respective national championships.

In the classroom, Northeastern student-athletes’ performance was just as strong. Fifteen of the 18 varsity teams boasted a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher in the spring of 2013, and 88 student-athletes were named to the spring 2013 dean’s list.

“We have always been committed to wanting to be a national model for how you can recruit quality students-athletes who are committed to academic success, and who are good people, but are also fierce competitors and can win at a high level,” Roby explained. “We think that model exists and we want to be part of it.”

The Faculty Senate congratulated Roby on his selection to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball selection committee, which chooses the teams that participate in the annual March Madness tournament. Roby completed the first of his five-year membership earlier this year.

“I am proud that it puts Northeastern University in that national light,” Roby noted. “It’s the chance of a lifetime.”

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a proposed measure to establish a Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering. The department will include new undergraduate and master’s degrees, as well as a currently offered doctorate degree in bioengineering.

“I believe this department will raise the level of the university in addition to the level of the College of Engineering,” said Nadine Aubry, the college’s dean. “We on the faculty and College of Engineering students believe that the creation of such a major will further distinguish Northeastern from other institutions.”