June 10, 2016
Well, it's hard to believe but another academic/athletic year has come and gone and the time has come once again to reflect on all we've accomplished in recent months and all that we have to look forward to in the months to come! This is a truly exciting time for our school and our division; in addition to continuing to enjoy success in competition, we've also had a great run of success in the classroom and in the community, all of which make us proud to be a Pioneer.
As we await the final results for this year's Directors' Cup standings, the latest update came out last week and we are 228.25 points ahead in our quest for an eighth DI-AAA Directors' Cup in the last nine years. We are also currently 39th in the overall Division I Directors' Cup, four places higher than our best finish with softball, men's golf, track and baseball still to go.
It has been another great year athletically for the University of Denver in 2015-16. Highlighting the year was our ski team capturing its NCAA-best 23rd National Championship this year as one of nine Denver programs to reach the NCAA postseason this year. Individuals from our men's and women's swimming and diving teams and men's tennis partners Henry Craig & Alex Gasson also represented DU in NCAA postseason play. Four student-athletes won individual national championships in 2015-16: skiers Erik Ready (men's slalom), Kristine Haugen (women's giant slalom) and Linn Eriksen (women's classical), and gymnast Nina McGee, who captivated the crowd and other competitors with her outstanding floor routine.
Overall, we won eight conference championships in 2015-16, while producing 25 All-Americans and 86 all-league honorees. Throughout the course of the season, nine different programs were ranked nationally.
On the academic front, we accrued accolades galore over the course of the campaign, reaching new heights of excellence throughout our division. We received national recognition for our exceptional Academic Progress Rate as well as our Graduation Success Rate and our cumulative GPA through the winter quarter stands at an impressive 3.336. Several individual student-athletes were recognized for their scholastic achievements this year, including men's hockey forward Gabe Levin who won the first-ever NCHC Post-Graduate Scholarship in addition to the Elite 90 Award for having the highest GPA among all student-athletes competing in their sport's final site of competition. Our 51st CoSIDA Academic All-American, Gabe will be attending Harvard Law School in the fall and we wish him the best of luck! Innumerable other student-athletes won all-conference academic honors and we couldn't be more proud of our achievements in the classroom this past year.
Our presence in the community and our engagement with key stakeholders has never been higher. The exposure we received for taking part in February's historic `Battle on Blake' game at Coors Field was truly overwhelming and it was great to have so many eyeballs on the Pioneers -- locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally! We continue to endorse `service above self' among our student-athletes and they've been absolutely tremendous this season, lending their support to the Colorado Toy Drive, Through Hoops to Hope, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and several other magnanimous initiatives throughout the region.
Without revealing too much, we're in the process of developing an exciting and dynamic relationship with Hampton University Athletics and will have some exciting announcements in the near future regarding a tennis facility that will further captivate the community and enhance our presence in both the Front Range and nationally. Stay tuned for more details!
Our staff and student-athletes have continued to make philanthropic giving through the Pioneer Movement at the University of Denver a priority in 2015-16. Now in the final month of our fiscal year, our donor count has continued its upward trend for the fifth-consecutive year. Currently our count is at 2,951, up 242 from last year. That number once again includes 100% participation from our student-athletes for the fifth year in a row. In 2015-16, we also received 100% participation from our club sports programs, including our 2016 Club Women's Lacrosse National Champions.
All in all, this has truly been a remarkable year for DU Athletics and we're in great position to have an even better year in 2016-17! Thank you for your continued loyal support. We need you and appreciate you.
Proud to be a Pioneer!