Western has ranked first among Canadian universities with the greatest number of high-achieving student-athletes receiving U Sports Academic All-Canadians recognition.
“Our student-athletes work hard, in sport and in the classroom, and it is wonderful to see them recognized for this dedication,” said Christine Stapleton, director of Western’s sport and recreation. “We are grateful for the support of our Mustangs families, coaches, professors, academic advisors, academic success coordinators and counsellors, as well as many others in our campus community who play such an integral role in our student-athletes’ academic and athletic achievements.”
For the last five years, Western’s scholar-athletes have consistently performed well academically in the U Sports Academic All-Canadians, with Western ranking number one in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, and number two in 2019-20.
Western’s scholar-athletes are Mustangs who achieve a minimum of 80 per cent average in a given academic year while on a varsity team roster. For the 2020-21 academic year, a total of 583 Western Mustangs student athletes – 54 per cent – are Western scholar-athletes, a record number for the university. In addition to the U Sports Academic All-Canadians, these numbers include OUA Achievement Award winners and Western Scholar Athletes.
“It’s really inspiring to see we’ve been able to come out of this pandemic mentally and physically stronger, and that we’re still able to succeed in both aspects,” said Joan-Shiao Chen, a fifth-year integrated engineering student on the Mustangs swimming team and U Sports Academic All-Canadians winner.
Chen, who is also president of the Mustangs Athlete Student Council, said Western’s systems of support were a big contributor to the success of the scholar-athletes.
“I’m fortunate that my coaches are really supportive. Every time there’s a conflict (between schoolwork and athletics), they work with me to find ways to manage everything. As well, our athletics department offers a lot of support to student-athletes, whether it’s with developing more healthy habits or academically. We have study hall and they provide grad student tutors as well as opportunities to be mentored by upper-year students,” she said.
For baseball varsity athlete James Bull, a third-year kinesiology student and OUA Achievement Award winner, the scholar-athlete distinction is a recognition of all the efforts student-athletes like him are putting in.
“I know how hard I and my teammates work, so it’s nice to see that effort paying off. And it has resulted in something really cool, that out of an entire country with tens of thousands of varsity athletes, we’re able to stand at the top,” Bull said.