Penn State Schuylkill receives NAIA Champions of Character Gold designation

Champions of Character and Penn State Schuylkill logo
Credit: Penn State

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. -- Each year, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) demonstrates its commitment to character-driven athletics with the Champions of Character Award. This year, Penn State Schuylkill received the NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Gold Award for 2020-21. Schuylkill is one of only four Continental Athletic Conference member institutions to receive the Gold Award based on the campus’s commitment to student-athlete character development and academic success. For the past two academic years (since becoming eligible), Penn State Schuylkill has received the Five-Star Institution Award, first earning Bronze designation in 2019-20.

The Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Award rates athletics programs by assigning points based on character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, and character recognition and promotion. Institutions are further awarded based on exceptional student-athlete grade-point averages and having minimal to no ejections during competitive play.

NAIA recognizes scholar-athletes

The Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete Award recognizes excellence in the classroom among NAIA student-athletes who are juniors or seniors in good academic standing with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Students must have attended two full years as nontransfer students or one full year as transfers and must participate in sports eligible for NAIA postseason competition.

With limited competition due to COVID-19, and only three athletic teams eligible, 14 Penn State Schuylkill student-athletes were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes for 2020-21:


  • Charles Buehler, graduate student
  • Sean Duffy, third year
  • Evan Kosar, third year
  • Garrett Lehman, fourth year
  • Jacob Leininger, fourth year
  • Stephen Mellon, third year
  • Dylan Miller, third year
  • Patrick Ryan, third year
  • Alex Witmer, fourth year


  • Chelsea Erkes, fifth year
  • Caitlyn Goggin, third year
  • Kristina McConnell, third year
  • Sierra Santarsiero, fourth year

Women’s Cross-Country

  • Joahlana Najunas, third year

In addition, five Penn State Schuylkill teams were recognized as NAIA Scholar Teams, based upon the team’s overall GPA over the 2020-21 academic year (whether they competed, or not):

  • Baseball - 3.51 GPA
  • Softball - 3.54 GPA
  • Women’s Basketball - 3.11 GPA
  • Women’s Soccer - 3.42 GPA
  • Women's Volleyball - 3.34 GPA

Penn State Schuylkill is the only Penn State campus with membership in NAIA’s Continental Athletic Conference. Learn more about athletics at Penn State Schuylkill.