(November 19, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary Earns High Marks For Graduating Athletes

NCAA Report finds College's graduation success rates highest in the state at 84 percent

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SHREVEPORT, La.—Centenary's athletic program is doing much more than producing competitive teams...the Ladies and Gents are graduating athletes at a high rate, with graduation success rates for student-athletes competing in Division I continuing to reach all-time highs.

According to the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate data released Wednesday, 79 percent of Division I freshmen student-athletes who entered college in 2002 earned their degrees, matching last year's rate. The average Graduation Success Rate for the last four graduating classes is 79 percent, one percentage point higher than last year.

On the NCAA report, Centenary College topped the state with an 84 percent graduation success rate, equal to that of Tulane, and followed by Southeastern Louisiana and Northwestern State.

The men's and women's cross country, swimming and golf programs turned in stellar figures, topping the list at 100-percent when looking at the most recent graduation success rates, and joined by women's gymnastics, soccer and tennis programs.

"Graduating our student-athletes and providing them with a world-class experience is a top priority here at Centenary," said Athletics Director Tom Tallach. "Being ranked top in the state among all student-athletes is a tremendous testament to our student-athletes, coaches, and College faculty and their commitment to our student's academic success."

The rates are the highest ever for Division I student-athletes, said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch.

"Be assured—the NCAA's commitment to academics is as strong as it has ever been," Isch said. "Having been on three major campuses before coming to the NCAA 10 years ago, I know how critical academic success is to the future of intercollegiate athletics and for the student-athletes who participate."

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The rate holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The Graduation Success Rate also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport.

Under the calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. The outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution's Graduation Success Rate cohort. NCAA officials believe that the improving numbers can be attributed to stronger eligibility standards for incoming freshmen and a greater emphasis on academics during Brand's tenure as president.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.