YSU riding the wave: Thrilling win one day, graduation the next

Around 900 Penguins received diplomas Sunday, including five football players headed to the National Championship

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s a great time to be a Penguin.

Just one day after Youngstown State’s football team advanced to the FCS National Championship, the school had its fall commencement ceremony.

Around 900 Penguins received diplomas Sunday, officially becoming a member of the YSU Alumni family.

“It’s a pretty incredible feeling, I gotta be honest with you,” graduate Dylan Schmidt said.

The graduates were less than 24 hours removed from watching the Penguins’ thrilling come-from-behind victory at Eastern Washington. YSU’s trip to Texas for the title on Jan. 7 will be the school’s first trip to the championship game since 1999.

There was still a buzz in the air from the game on Sunday.

“It’s a lot easier being up here after the big win last night, believe me,” said Sam Covelli, the commencement speaker who was given an honorary degree in business for his work as owner of Covelli Enterprises.

“Knowing that on SportsCenter and national TV,  knowing that big Y was in front of people and that slogan of ‘Y and Proud ‘was all over the nation,” said YSU President Jim Tressel, “We’re very, very proud of what they’ve done.”

The university said that five football players graduated Sunday.

Their fellow classmates said the team’s success this season gives them just one more reason to be Y and proud.

“The fact that we won the football game just makes me even more proud to be from this school,” graduate Sharay Lewis said.

“I’ve been really involved in the university and we’re just really excited to bring these kind of things to Youngstown,” Tia Allison said.