Pioneers’ Success Continues in the Classroom


Jacqui White, Sports Editor

The Utica College Pioneers are enjoying success away from their respective sports as 20 teams earned a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

A total of 29 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, and over 100 student athletes earned a GPA of 3.75 or better.

The current United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) champion men’s hockey team had a combined GPA of 3.38. Junior right wing Jacob Gerson from Colorado Springs explained how the team earned high marks.

“Our coach wants us to have at least a 3.0 GPA to play on the team,” he said. “The school has a minimum of a 2.0 GPA, but our coach wants to hold us to a higher standard.”

Gerson said that he had perfect grades his first semester at Utica College.

“I wanted to continue to get straight As as long as I could after doing that for my first semester,” he explained.

Gerson said that while living with some of his teammates, the whole house had a 4.0 GPA. He credits his grades to the time that they spend studying together.

“We’ll hang out in the main room, doing homework and goofing off a little,” Gerson said. “Studying and doing homework in a group makes it a little more fun.”

Gerson also credits the fact that a lot of the team members have multiple classes with each other.

“We’ll be doing homework together, helping each other,” he said. “The hockey team doesn’t have study hours, so having the same classes help us keep track of each other. We keep track of our teammates that we know might struggle in some classes.”

Senior right winger Shawn Lynch echoed Gerson about having teammates in his classes.

“I’ve had classes with teammates throughout my four years at Utica,” Lynch said. “It’s nice to be able to work through the class and prepare for exams with people I know.”

Lynch said that having teammates in classes that require semester-long projects is also nice.

“It helps to be able to work closely with someone you already know well,” Lynch said.

Lynch explained that, even though the hockey team does not have study hours like some of the other teams do, they consider themselves very responsible as a group in terms of planning their days around hockey and other activities that might interfere with their school work.

Director of Student-Athlete Success Richard Racioppa moved into his office in the Clark Auditorium prior to the fall semester as part of an institutional effort to prioritize student-athlete success.

“Everyone wants to see student-athletes succeed in the classroom as much as they want them to succeed on the field,” Racioppa said.

Racioppa explained that, with his office moving into the auditorium, there is greater access for student-athletes and coaches to reach out for assistance.

“Coaches and student-athletes spend most of their time in the gym,” Racioppa said. “By moving into this new space, I can interact with them easier. Sharing information between athletes and coaches is also easier because they can walk up to my office rather than them emailing me.”

According to Racioppa, having a presence in the gym helps students and coaches because it helps the coaches become aware if the student-athletes are having any difficulties. He explained that coaches can also use him to help foster student-athletes’ academic success.

“If coaches or assistant coaches have quick questions, I’m their contact to help students,” he said.