BUFFALO, N.Y. – May 20 - Erie Community College sophomore Ryan Kaufman (Amherst, N.Y.) and freshman Elizabeth Szpara (Orchard Park, N.Y.) were recently chosen as recipients of the 2013 The State University of New York Chancellor’s Scholar Athlete Award. The Scholar Athlete Award recognizes a combination of academic excellence and outstanding athletic achievement at the NCAA Division I, Division III and NJCAA levels.
“Ryan and Liz have balanced the demands that are part of being a college student with being an athlete and still are standouts in the classroom,” ECC athletics director Peter Jerebko said. “They are so much more than their grade-point averages and scholastic honors, though, and we are pleased they were honored by the SUNY chancellor for their accomplishments.”
Kaufman, a defenseman on the ECC hockey team, carries a 3.67 grade-point average while majoring in criminal justice. He also a named to the 2013 All-Region III hockey team as a second-team selection after appearing in 16 games and recording 4 goals and 11 assists. Kaufman, the team's top scoring defenseman, helped lead the Kats to back-to-back NJCAA championship semifinal games. He scored 13 points (1 goal/12 assists) in the 2011-12 season. He recently was named to the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-District ® Men’s At-Large District I first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Szpara, who earned NJCAA All-America status after finishing second in the NJCAA Championships' All-Event standings, carries a 3.75 GPA in criminal justice. She was also named to the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) Academic All-America team. Szpara, who earned All-Region III honors, won the Big Red Invitational singles title and finished third at the Region III Tournament and at the Cayuga Spartan Invitational.
In order to be considered for this award, student-athletes were nominated by their campus athletics director. Nominees’ academic credentials and athletic accomplishments were then reviewed by a panel of athletics directors from across the State University system and members of the provost’s office.
“These outstanding students are SUNY champions not only in their chosen sports but also in our classrooms, with an average GPA of 3.59 among them,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to this year’s honorees, to the professors and coaches who mentored them, and to the many faculty and staff on our campuses across the state who supported them.”
There were 66 recipients this year.