DETROIT, Mich. -- Senior Susan Kalkstein (New Kensington, PA/Burell) of the women's track and field team, was named a Co-Valedictorian for the Class of 2012 at the University of Detroit Mercy and presented a speech to the graduating class during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12, at Calihan Hall.“I'm proud of myself for doing it, but I think it is really good recognition for athletics, for the track program, where I work in academic services and just for English majors in general,” said Kalkstein. “I think it speaks to the fact that academics and other involvements are just as important as what you do on the field and on the track.”
“I am very excited for Susan and it is a well-deserved honor,” said Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Keri Gaither “As a student-athlete, Susan has been named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll every semester at UDM. She is a valued member of the Titan track and field team and has been named both track team Rookie of the Year and track team Student-Athlete of the Year during her athletic career at Detroit.”
Kalkstein and co-winner Maria Ibarra were both announced as Co-Valedictorians at an Honors Convocation on March 25. Kalkstein is an English literature major while Ibarra is an English/social work major. Kalkstein has a cumulative GPA of 3.98 in her time at Detroit. This is the first year that co-winners were awarded since 1994.
Kalkstein becomes the fourth athlete since 1981 to earn the Valedictorian honor. The last was Katelyn McCutcheon from softball (2010) and the other two were also from track and field in Mead Goedert (2006) and Todd Otten (1998).
In her freshman year in 2008-09, Kalkstein garnered the team's Rookie of the Year Award and she was named the Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Year after the 2009-10 season. She was recently named to the Horizon League's Winter Academic All-League team on April 24.
In order to be in position for this prestigious award, Kalkstein had to turn in paperwork documenting her accomplishments in the classroom, her other involvements and she needed 3-6 recommendations from people within the UDM community. Kalkstein presented her speech to each of her recommendations, was then interviewed by a committee and presented the speech again to the committee. Gaither was one of Kalkstein's recommendations for the award.
“Despite the rigors and time commitment of competing as a Division I student-athlete, Susan finds time for anyone and everyone. Her strong personal dedication to community outreach, leadership and service is a major emphasis in her life and has modeled herself in the spirit and tradition of St. Ignatius Loyola, living her life as a “Woman for Others,” added Gaither.
Kalkstein has battled injuries in her final season with the UDM track team as she did not compete in the outdoor season. Her career bests include a jump of 17" 8' (5.34m) in the long jump in the 2010 outdoor season in the Horizon League Championships, in which she finished fifth. Her career high in the triple jump was also that year when she leaped 37' 9.5" (11.52m) at the Bucknell Bison Outdoor Classic. Her long jump mark stands as the eighth best Titan mark and her triple jump best is the No. 2 all-time Titan mark.
In addition to Kalkstein, 35 other Titan student-athletes have either earned their degree since December or have applied to graduate either this spring or this summer.
“We are all very proud of this terrific class of Titan student-athletes,” said Gaither. “Student-athletes in particular have a rigorous schedule of participating at the intercollegiate Division I level, while meeting UDM's high academic expectations so all of us in Titan athletics share in their joy of this significant achievement and I offer my congratulations to all of them.”“All of the Titan student-athletes work so hard on and off the field and when they receive that diploma, it is a major accomplishment," said Amy Gasahl, Academic Coordinator & Assistant Director of Compliance. "It signifies all the hard work and all the late nights they have spent studying, while also balancing an athletic schedule and social life.”
-- Release by University of Detroit's Joel Walrath
Tags: Detroit - Track and Field · Horizon League - Track and Field