NSU Athletics Announces Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr. Athletic Degree Completion Endowed Scholarship Fund

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Department of Athletics is honored to announce the Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr. NSU Athletic Degree Completion Endowed Scholarship Fund, which was created to support scholarships for student-athletes who have completed their athletic eligibility but have yet to complete their undergraduate degrees.
“Our student-athletes are among our greatest ambassadors!” expressed Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr., J.D. “Having said that, I believe we, as an academic community, have an obligation to see that they are able to complete their degree requirements even though they may have exhausted their athletic eligibility. By establishing this endowment, it is my hope that others – alumni, friends, NSU supporters and the university itself – will join in this mission.”
In December 2019, NSU Athletics Advisory Council hosted an intimate reception with close friends and supporters of Shark Athletics during a rooftop reception at Andy’s Live Fire Grill & Bar. The event honored Chancellor Ferrero’s considerable contribution and lead gift to establish the endowment fund. Below are a few images from the inaugural event.
Chancellor Ferrero served as NSU’s fifth president from January 1998 to December 2009, before being named chancellor in January 2010. He began his time with NSU in 1984 and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for six years. One of his most notable accomplishments was playing a major role in the merger between Nova University of Advanced Technology and Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, setting the groundwork for the largest independent university in the southeast and the seventh-largest in the country.
During his 12-year presidency, Ferrero presided over the athletic department as it was granted full membership into NCAA Division II and was simultaneously accepted into the Sunshine State Conference. He also oversaw a transformation of NSU’s main campus, including the construction of the Don Taft University Center – home to the Sharks’ volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams – the NSU Soccer Complex, NSU Aquatic Center, a student-athlete academic services center and a private workout facility for student-athletes.
“This gift is both transformational and unprecedented that will truly impact student-athletes at NSU for years to come,” noted Director of Athletics Michael Mominey. “The generosity of Ray Ferrero, Jr. and his family, the foresight of our advisory council and the support of the university have all aligned to establish this groundbreaking endowment fund. The creation of a scholarship fund to assist student-athletes to ensure the completion of their academic degree, proves once again that our university and our athletic program have the best interest of our students in mind and that we are truly student-centered.” 
This generous gift will also enhance and enrich the student-athlete experience and support the vision and mission of NSU Athletics in perpetuity. NSU Athletics’ mission statement emphasizes “providing a first class student-athlete experience through the participation in a highly competitive and nationally recognized intercollegiate athletic program. Through the platform of higher education, we offer young men and women the opportunity to develop leadership, sportsmanship and teamwork skills that will serve as a foundation for success today and in the future.”
In Spring 2020, the Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr. Athletic Degree Completion Endowed Fund was awarded to its first recipient, women’s swimmer Elizabeth Zubero. During her two years at NSU, Zubero was crowned an SSC Champion in the 100 butterfly and was a two-time All-SSC Second Team recipient. She also shined academically, earning College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American and SSC Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll accolades both years.
“Being awarded the Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr. Athletic Degree Completion Endowed Fund meant so much to me being a student-athlete at NSU, as I was able to complete my Recreational Therapy degree Field Placement during an extra semester of my senior year,” said Zubero. “Over this past summer, I had the opportunity of working with a nursing home in Maryland and compiled a COVID-19 Safety and Activity Manual to provide assistance and relief to residents during this tough time. I am truly grateful for this experience and hope that this scholarship will be helpful for future student-athletes like me who need extra time to complete their degree.”
NSU is an NCAA Division II institution in the Sunshine State Conference, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Sharks currently boast eight NCAA national championships, 23 individual national champions, 303 All-Americans and 288 Scholar All-Americans. To follow the Nova Southeastern Sharks on social media, please go to @NSUSharks on Twitter and Instagram, as well as /NSUSharksAthletics on Facebook.

Gallery: (12-17-2020) Ray Ferrero Fund Kickoff


Gallery: (12-17-2020) Chancellor Ray Ferrero Through the Years


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SSC Student-Athletes Continue to Shine in the NCAA Division II Academic Success Rate

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sunshine State Conference has achieved an 86-percent Academic Success Rate (ASR) for the 10th consecutive year, ranking second among the 23 NCAA Division II conferences in 2019-20. Through the 15-year history of the ASR, the SSC has never ranked below second.


All 18 league sports scored above the NCAA Division II average of 74-percent, with 17 sports earning rates at 80-percent or higher. Eleven sports achieved an ASR or 90-percent or better, including women’s tennis and women’s golf, which led the SSC at 99-percent and 95-percent, respectively.


Females in the SSC retained an Academic Success rate of 92-percent from the last ASR release, while the males improved one point to 83-percent. The SSC’s percentages sit well above the Division II national averages of 87-percent for women and 66-percent for men.


Since the inception of the NCAA Division II Academic Success Rate, 202 SSC student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors a total of 241 times. Athletically, member institutions have won a combined 51 team and 75 individual national titles.


About the Academic Success Rate


Academic Success Rate is the percentage of student-athletes who graduate within six years of initial college enrollment and includes virtually all Division II student-athletes, including transfers and those not receiving athletic scholarships.


The Division II ASR also captures about 45-percent more college athletes than the federal graduation rate. Unlike the federal graduation rate, the ASR also counts student-athletes who transfer to a school after initial enrollment elsewhere and removes from the rate student-athletes who leave school while academically eligible. The national ASR is 73-percent for student-athletes who entered college from 2010 through 2013.


Regardless of which measure is used, Division II college athletes graduate at a higher rate than the general student body. The federal rate for the 2013 entering class of student-athletes was 62-percent, compared to 53-percent for the general student body.

Academic Success Rate Ranking By NCAA Division II Conference
Northeast-10 Conference – 89%
Sunshine State Conference – 86%
Great Lakes Valley Conference – 83%
Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference- 82%
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference- 81%
East Coast Conference- 80%
Great Midwest Athletic Conference – 79%
Great Northwest Athletic Conference – 79%
Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference – 79%
Pacific West Conference – 79%
Conference Carolinas – 75%
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – 75%
Peach Belt Conference – 73%
California Collegiate Athletic Association – 72%
South Atlantic Conference – 70%
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference – 69%
Gulf South Conference – 68%
Lone Star Conference – 67%
Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association – 67%
Independent – 66%
Mountain East Conference – 66%
Great American Conference – 65%
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association – 62%
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – 58% Source

Educational Program for First-Year Sharks Reframes Successful Sports Performance

Nova Southeastern student-athletes coming to campus in the 2020-21 academic school year are receiving an added bonus to their experience thanks to a new educational program developed by Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Performance and Student-Athlete Wellness Steve Orris.

Set up to exist almost as a second curriculum in personal education and positive habit-building, Orris’ new program emerged from the educational engagement opportunities presented by the strength and conditioning team’s Instagram page.

Using the @nsusharkstrength account and adapting to the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic – specifically the shutdown of intercollegiate athletics in March, Orris’ team of Jake Suvak, Faith Wilson and Ryan Smach used what was initially a reminder system to deliver COVID tips, nutrition, education and eventually workout demonstrations that boosted engagement to new levels.

In growing the methods of positively impacting the student-athlete base for the Sharks, this fall’s return to campus saw a new program emerge. Every first-year Sharks student-athlete will participate in monthly topics, consisting of an hour learning and emphasis on the topics, ranging from mental health to sleep, hazing prevention, sexual violence prevention, time management, alcohol/other drugs and sports nutrition.

The overall goal here is an extension of improving sports performance, which is directly tied to mental health, well-being and nutrition – well beyond the simple terms of lifting and training. The focus is also to improve the skill set and tools that NSU student-athletes need to be successful in life beyond sport.

The Sharks’ new student development program is the latest of making the most of the resources at hand, utilizing recommended education themes from the NCAA and expanding on a strong relationship in place with the Center for Student Counseling and Well-Being. It also creates a partnership with the fifth-year graduate program in Nutrition within the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. This program also stems from the success of NSU Athletics’ AIM (Academic, Injury, and Mental Health) Program that has been developed as it begins its third year.

The program kicked off with a mental health focus during the return to campus in August and will continue monthly through March for all new NSU student-athletes.

To stay informed on all the latest news about the Nova Southeastern Sharks, follow the main accounts on Twitter and Instagram at @NSUSharks and on Facebook at Nova Southeastern Athletics.

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Sharks Shine Academically with Program-Best Winter Semester to Cap Record-Setting Year

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The winter semester provided more evidence that nothing can stop a determined Shark, as Nova Southeastern student-athletes not only extended the program’s gold-standard academic tradition, but showed perseverance in excelling at record levels in spite of this semester’s obstacles. The Sharks produced a program-wide 3.40 grade point average for the program’s highest winter semester mark, coupling with the fall’s 3.27 to earn the highest annual departmental GPA on record at 3.33.
Of NSU’s 17 NCAA Division II intercollegiate programs, 16 squads posted a 3.0 or higher team GPA, with 80 percent of student-athletes individually exceeding a 3.0. Closing out the 2019-20 academic year with a perfect semester, a program-record 38 student-athletes garnered a 4.00 GPA and 59 Shark student-athletes graduated during the 2019-20 academic year. There were 90 student-athletes who earned a spot on the NSU Director’s List above a 3.80 GPA, while 223 Sharks were named Scholar Athletes with a GPA of 3.25 or better.
“While this semester proved to be unusual and filled with unexpected challenges, it should come as no surprise that our Shark student-athletes again demonstrated their determination and resilience with their record-setting academic performances,” Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services and Student-Athlete Support Rachel Fineberg said. “I am so proud of each and every one of our student-athletes for their commitment to academic excellence. Congratulations to our recent Shark graduates! We look forward to the day that we can welcome you home and celebrate with you and your loved ones.”

The Shark leaders in the winter hailed from women’s swimming with an NSU-high 3.68 GPA for a new program semester-best, en route to a new top annual GPA. Taking the lead spot for the fifth consecutive semester, the men’s soccer team also posted its best academic year to date thanks to a 3.56 winter semester GPA that again paced all men’s programs.

Barely edged out by the swimmers, not only returning to prominence with a 20-win season for the first time since 2008, women’s volleyball delivered program highs for the year and the winter semester at 3.64 this term. Volleyball held only a slight advantage over the NCAA No. 1-ranked women’s golf squad, which produced a 3.63 this semester.
Adding another pair of annual highs on the men’s side, men’s golf posted a program winter semester-high 3.38, while men’s basketball reached 3.30 for a program high this term.

This is the eighth consecutive semester and fourth year in a row that the NSU student-athletes have posted a 3.20 or better GPA (and 20 straight semesters in excess of 3.0), which began when NSU posted the previous annual record at 3.29 in 2016-17. With the new record 3.33 on the books, the 2019-20 Sharks have once again raised the bar for future classes.

Now for the 18th consecutive year, NSU Athletics has finished with a 3.0 or higher department GPA dating back to 2002-03 – the first year of NCAA competition. Additionally, for the last eight academic years, NSU student-athletes have earned a 3.15 or better.

To follow the Nova Southeastern Sharks on social media, please go to @NSUSharks on Twitter and Instagram, as well as /NSUSharksAthletics on Facebook.


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