NEAC Friday Feature: Penn State Abington

NEAC Friday Feature: Penn State Abington

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Each week throughout the fall, the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) will highlight one of our conference members and feature two of the institution’s standout student-athletes. In the final feature of 2017, the conference takes a look at Penn State Abington where we meet student-athletes Cortney Schwar and John Ryan.

Penn State Abington, which was formerly Penn State Ogontz, is located on 45 acres just 15 miles north of Center City Philadelphia. With close to 4,000 enrolled students, Penn State Abington is recognized as one of the largest campuses in the Penn State system. Nearly half of its students complete all four years at Abington in one of 19 undergraduate majors while students also have the opportunity to start over 160 majors at Abington and complete them at another Penn State campus.

Penn State Abington is the most diverse campus in the Penn State system with 50 percent of the student body identifying as minorities. Eleven percent of Abington’s students come from 17 states and 29 countries while more than 40 percent are the first generation in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Abington continues to make improvements on campus to accommodate its changing demographics, including the opening of its first residence hall in the fall of 2017.

The size of the campus and the campus diversity served as selling points for sophomore women’s volleyball player Cortney Schwar. The Annandale, N.J. native appeared in 27 matches during the 2017 season for the Nittany Lions.

“I was looking to attend a campus that was smaller than Penn State University and when I was finished with my tour of Abington, I really felt as if that was where I wanted to be,” Schwar shared. “I also chose Abington because of the diversity our school has, the resources the campus offers and the location. I will also be graduating with a degree from Penn State, which will open up many opportunities as I move forward.”

For Warminster, Pa. native John Ryan, attending Penn State Abington allowed him to achieve one of his dreams.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a Penn State education while also fulfilling my athletic dream of playing college basketball,” Ryan said. “I also love how close the school is to my home so family members can come and watch me play.”

A sophomore on the men’s basketball team, Ryan is looking to build upon his successful rookie campaign that saw him lead his team in points and rebounds while earning NEAC All-Conference Third Team honors. Off the court, Ryan is majoring in Rehabilitation and Human Services with plans to attend graduate school for physical therapy.

“My ultimate goal is to be able to help people,” Ryan added.

Schwar is declaring a major in Corporate Communications this year with aspirations to pursue a career in media relations upon graduation. As a Division III student-athlete, Schwar has been able to work towards her future career path while form life-long bonds with her teammates.

“I am so glad I have the opportunity to competitively play the sport I love while still being able to focus on my education and getting my Penn State degree,” Schwar said. “Having teammates made transitioning into college much easier. You go through many challenges and obstacles together but we are always there to support and lift one another up.”

Even though he only has one full season under his belt, Ryan recognizes the tremendous growth that he has experienced as a Division III student-athlete.

“Being a Division III student-athlete has been a process of managing time between school work, practicing and games,” Ryan noted. “That has helped me grow as a person as well as a student-athlete. I also enjoy the daily competitiveness of practices and games.”

Despite Penn State Abington having one of the larger student bodies in the Penn State system, both Schwar and Ryan believe the campus community is one of its best features.

“The school has a family-feel and professors are always willing to help you out whenever you need it,” Ryan said.

“Although Abington is seen more as a “commuter school”, our campus offers a bunch of resources, activities and clubs to get involved,” Schwar added. “But what I love most about Abington has to be the sense of community and diversity that our campus has.”

To learn more about Penn State Abington and Nittany Lions athletics, visit

*Information provided by Nick Economopoulos, Penn State Abington Sports Information Director


The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: