At the Platinum Student-Athletes Breakfast last Wednesday, Ryerson honoured 15 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) students and 20 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) students for their academic achievements.
These numbers have improved drastically since 2005, when only three Ryerson students received academic honours.
Hosted by the president’s office, the breakfast is Ryerson’s way of recognizing all CIS Academic All-Canadians and OUA Academic Achievement Award winners. In order to receive the award, the student-athlete must have achieved an academic GPA of 3.67 or better.
President Sheldon Levy, vice- provost Heather Lane Vetere and the honoured students’ coaches regularly attend the event.
The CIS student-athletes receive a certificate signed by the CIS president, and a letter congratulating them on their achievement from Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
“Having things that celebrate (athletes) and draw awareness to being (an Academic All-Canadian) makes a student that would typically get a 3.3 GPA or just over a 3.0 strive to achieve more in order to get that honour,” said Lauren Wilson, Ryerson athletics’ academic services co-ordinator.
Wilson credits the school’s athletic director Ivan Joseph for helping drive this change and pushing students to work harder since he took up the position five years ago.
“When he came to the school as the athletic director, that one thing that he promoted was the academic experience,” Wilson said.
This is shown even more in Joseph’s meetings with each individual team, where he puts up a slide of Ryerson athletics’ priorities. Number 1 on the list is academics and leadership.
This year, every CIS team except for men’s hockey had at least one representative make the 3.67 GPA. The figure skating team had the most students recognized, and the women’s hockey team had four players receive the honour — the most of any of Ryerson’s CIS teams.
Athletes are required to put several hours a day into their sport on top of attending classes and finding time to get schoolwork done.
Emma Crawley, who’s studying sciences while playing for the women’s hockey team, credits Ryerson’s athletics department for helping her reach her goals.
“Athletics helps me reach my goals because they give us the tools we need to organize, to get help and most importantly, to feel confident,” Crawley said.
Crawley has achieved Academic All-Canadian status in each of her first three years at Ryerson.
“Receiving Academic All-Canadian is definitely something that I’m proud of. I think it’s a reflection of the Ryerson Rams’s mission to be not just good athletes, but also good students.”
By Melissa Wronzberg