The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) is the nation’s largest athletic conference, comprised of more than 300 member institutions in NCAA Divisions I, II and III and more than 110,000 student-athletes. So when Gannon University receives two top honors from the conference, it’s a big deal.
That’s the case this year as Gannon’s Matt Barto, an outstanding member of the men’s golf team, and Athletic Director Lisa Goddard McGuirk were named NCAA Division II Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Administrator of the Year by the ECAC.
Barto was one of six student-athletes recognized as Scholar-Athlete of the Year at a ceremony in the ECAC’s headquarters city of Danbury, Connecticut in September. The junior mechanical engineering major from Leechburg, Pennsylvania has a 3.96 cumulative grade-point average, and has been honored as a College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American last year after being named to the Academic All-District first team. He also has been named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Scholar-Athlete every year. During the 2015-16 campaign, Barto had three top-five finishes, four top-10 finishes and six top-20 finishes in 11 events. He won the PSAC individual championship as a true freshman and qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships as an individual after finishing tied for fifth at the regional.
McGuirk, who led Gannon into the ECAC, is in her third year at Gannon. Her teams have distinguished themselves in the classroom and the community as well as in competition. The University’s nearly 550 student-athletes on 20 varsity teams tallied a 3.24 cumulative grade-point average last year. School records were broken for most PSAC Scholar-Athletes (200) and Division II Athletics Directors Association (ADA) Academic Achievement Award recipients (99).
In the community, Gannon student-athletes contributed almost 6,000 hours of community service and raised more $16,000 for charitable causes.
In competition, sixteen of the 20 programs qualified for the postseason in 2015-16, including 12 of the 16 PSAC sports. The performance of the women’s soccer team was a highlight of the year, having been ranked No. 1 among NCAA Division II programs in four consecutive national polls. The women’s volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen, the acrobatics and tumbling team made an appearance in its sport's Elite Eight and seven Gannon programs participated in postseason competition in NCAA sports. Gannon student-athletes were named conference players of the week 85 times, all-conference selections 62 times, all-region honorees 20 times and All-Americans 17 times.