Alden Scholars: Allegheny’s honors go unnoticed

October 6, 2011 11:47 PM 1 comment Views: 686

By ELAINA MERCATORIS

News Editor

mercate@allegheny.edu

Nearly 60 percent of students who received an Alden Scholar award for the 2010-2011 academic year did not know what it was upon receiving it for the first time, according to a poll conducted by The Campus.
“I guess that’s an indication that we need to get the word out a little bit more and try to do something more with it because it is an academic honor,” said Dean of the College Linda DeMerrit, whose office helps distribute certificates for the awards.
Recipient Anna Good, ’13, didn’t think the award is taken seriously.
“I had no idea what it was, and while it’s nice to have that piece of paper, if it does nothing for me, I don’t really care,” she said. “I don’t see what the point of it is except to tell you what you already knew: that you had a GPA above a certain amount.”
Students with a 3.2 grade point average over the course of the academic year qualified to be an Alden Scholar. Students with a 3.8 GPA qualified as Distinguished Alden Scholars.
The Alden Scholar program is Allegheny’s version of a Dean’s List, similar to Kenyon College’s Merit List.
Other schools in the Great Lakes Colleges Association have official Dean’s Lists.
Denison College’s honors students with GPAs of 3.7 or higher on their Dean’s List while Wooster’s minimum is 3.65.
A Dean’s List began at Allegheny in the 1930s as a list of students with B averages, the equivalent of a 3.0. Former President Lawrence Pelletier created the Alden Scholar program in 1958.
After receiving an Alden Scholar certificate, Sara Mitrano, ’13, still didn’t know what it meant to be an Alden Scholar.
“If you’re a first time Scholar, they should put in a little sheet of paper that explained what it was,” she said. “It lets students know the administration is aware of student achievements.”
On the other hand, Andrew Raker, ’12, thought a change in title would be a better solution.
“Considering that the award is only a piece of paper, one might just as well call the award the Dean’s List because that is essentially what the Alden Scholar award is,” he said.
Raker, who knew about the award before receiving it, recognized a more problematic situation.
“I think the bigger difficulty might be for people unfamiliar with the college, who don’t know who Timothy Alden was or what an Alden Scholar is,” he said. “Some employers may sense the distinction while others may just question what it is.”
The name Alden Scholar has never been addressed as a problem, DeMerrit said.
Upon creation of the program in 1958, winners were announced at a special ceremony, and later at a dinner, until this stopped in 1998.
DeMerrit and her secretary Samantha Stephens recalled that the banquet dinner was discontinued because of low attendance from students.
Approximately 600 students received both awards for the 2010-2011 year.
DeMerrit said the reinstatement of a banquet dinner has never come up.
Currently, the names are posted online and in the honors convocation and commencement ceremony programs.
Alden Scholars receive a certificate in the mail while Distinguished Alden Scholars receive the same certificate in addition to a letter and a book prize.
Although the title Distinguished Alden Scholars was used in their letter, the certificates for Alden and Distinguished Alden Scholars remained the same.  The course catalogue does not indicate a difference between the two.
DeMerrit recognized this as a problem, and said the first step is to change the title on the certificates and in the course catalogue to Distinguished Alden Scholar instead of only Alden Scholar.
“It’s much more competitive,” she said.
Raker wanted even more recognition for the students who qualified for the Distinguished Alden Scholar award each year.
“I think there could be more emphasis placed on how difficult it is to pull off a 3.8 average,” Raker said.
Good felt that the announcement is downplayed.
“I think that if they want it to be a big deal, they should make a bigger deal about it,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything about Alden Scholars anywhere except for on the certificate.”
DeMerrit cited a reason for this: unlike other honors, students don’t have to submit an application.
“You’re going to get it if you meet the criteria,” DeMerrit said. “Since you don’t have to apply, it probably makes it below the radar screen, but you find out about it when you receive it.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=891045600 Steven Jones

    I’d be curious why students who study abroad for a semester are not eligible for this award. It is not critical, but I left Allegheny Fall 2010 with almost a 3.3 GPA, and earned 16 credits in China last semester (with an Allegheny sponsored program), but no GPA (all classes were pass/fail). Does it only apply to students who are at Allegheny the entire academic year?

Other News

  • Sports

    Track and field sets records at Bucknell Outdoor Classic

    By EMERALD WRIGHT-COLLIE Staff Writer wrightcolliee@allegheny.edu The Allegheny Track and Field team competed at the Bucknell Outdoor Classic in Lewisburg, Pa this past weekend. Senior Bobby Over added to his Allegheny legacy as he broke yet another record with his 3000 meter dash time. “I am always excited for the level of competition our athletes will face at the Bucknell Bison meet,” said Head Coach Brent Wilkerson. The men’s distance runners had a strong showing this weekend, highlighted by Over’s [...]

    Read more →
  • Science

    You vs. You

    By Gavin Nirmaier Columnist nirmaierg@allegheny.edu Fitness is not a battle between people.  It is easy to get entangled in the trap of self-criticism when comparing oneself to other people in terms of fitness.  This is not a battle that should ever be fought, however—fitness should always be a battle between who you were yesterday and who you want to be today. Everywhere you look, someone that lives a similar fitness-based lifestyle will have something that you don’t.  Bigger arms, better [...]

    Read more →
  • Science

    This week in science 4-18-14

    By AMANDA SPADARO Science Editor spadaroa@allegheny.edu Biology professors at the University of Toronto Mississauga have determined that the first vegetarians evolved from meat-eaters. The research, published by PLOS ONE, provides support for the identification of the first herbivore on earth, Eocasea martinis. This herbivorous organism lived 300 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs by approximately 80 million years. Scientists believe that this fossil organism was part of the group that mammals evolved from. At only about seven inches in length, [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    ReproCo: Just the Tips How to treat a UTI

    By KIM GARRETT Contributing Writer garrettk@allegheny.edu   Hey! Have you ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI)? Odds are, if you have a urethra, especially a urethra contained in a vulva, you have had a UTI at some point in your life.  Luckily, UTIs are both preventable and treatable. Let’s talk about what causes a UTI. A UTI is an infection of, well, the urinary tract, which includes the bladder, kidneys and the tubes that connect them.  A urinary tract [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    What Happened to The Civility?

    By NICK TORTORICI Contributing Writer totoricin@allegheny.edu Civility.  To many people, the commonly accepted definition of this word is something along the lines of politeness, reasonable and respective behavior.  It is something so valued by Allegheny College that for the past three years, our wonderful institution has awarded a prize to public figures who have made positive moves toward a more civil discourse.  The exact rationale for this prestigious award is summarized by the college as such, “The Allegheny College Prize [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Egyptian scholar on American stereotypes

    By REEM ABOU ELENAIN Copy Editor abouelenainr@allegheny.edu   Before I came to the United States, I was warned about being stereotyped. I was told something along the lines of “expect the unexpected.”  When I came here, I found that most people ask good questions and are genuinely interested in knowing more about my country. However, some of the assumptions and questions were amusing. In Egypt we apparently “still have ancient Egyptians” (whatever that means) and we don’t have planes, vehicles [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    AC Association Scholar: ‘I am not your average Gator’

    By: LORRI DRUMM Contributing Writer drumml@allegheny.edu It’s difficult to grasp the impact that the last two years as an Allegheny College Association scholar have had on my life, but even more challenging to describe it to others. How do you put into words an experience that changed your life? I recently attended the 40th anniversary celebration of this scholarship program and I listened as numerous former scholars echoed my experiences. They spoke of their initial fear of returning to a [...]

    Read more →
  • News

    Students pass honor code

    By SAM STEPHENSON/ CHRISTINA BRYSON News Editor/Junior Editor stephensons@allegheny.edu brysonc@allegheny.edu   This year Allegheny celebrates the 50th anniversary of its honor code, a system designed for students to ensure academic integrity at the college. The Honor Code Committee is currently made up of 12 students from the sophomore, junior and senior classes as well as Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina. The Honor Committee Education Chair Kushtrim Miftari, ’15, describes the honor code as a way to promote academic integrity throughout [...]

    Read more →