June 20, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern Football celebrated the University's 156th commencement activities in their home at Ryan Field Friday, honoring 20 Wildcats who have earned one of the nation's most highly regarded undergraduate degrees while competing and winning at the highest level on the gridiron.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald and his assistant coaches joined NU's graduating student-athletes and their families for a pre-graduation reception at the Nicolet Football Center adjacent to Ryan Field. Many in the graduating class of 2014 are slated to return this fall to complete their fifth year of eligibility, looking to add to a list of on-field accomplishments that includes 29 victories and a 2013 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl championship.
In the classroom, this year's group has extended Northwestern's legacy of being arguably the highest achieving football program in the country. The seniors helped the 2013-14 Wildcats squad post a remarkable 3.05 cumulative team GPA for the just-completed academic year and land a program-record 36 Academic All-Big Ten honorees last fall. Two of Friday's graduating seniors -- linebacker Collin Ellis and center Brandon Vitabile -- were named Capital One Academic All-District performers last November and will return next fall to continue their studies and football careers.
On Thursday night, running back Tim Hanrahan was recognized at the annual N Club induction ceremony as the graduating football student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA, which he achieved while completing his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!