Alden Scholars: Allegheny’s honors go unnoticed

October 6, 2011 11:47 PM 1 comment Views: 782

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

  • News

    College reduces available television channels

    By JOSEPH TINGLEY Contributing Writer tingleyj@allegheny.edu Allegheny Students may find that there is less to watch on TV this year after a decision was made to cut back the number of channels that are received in dorm rooms from 60 to 30. The channels that will no longer be available include ESPN, Comedy Central, FX, AMC, TNT and USA. The reaction to the change on campus has been less than enthusiastic, especially in light of this year’s increase in room [...]

    Read more →
  • News

    Former pre-law adviser leaves Allegheny

    By SAM STEPHENSON Co-Editor-in-Chief stephensons@allegheny.edu The Meadville community kept former pre-law adviser Michaeline Shuman at Allegheny for longer than she initially intended. After eight and half years with the college, Michaeline Shuman, the former director of career education and pre-law adviser at Allegheny college, left the school for a new opportunity at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. Eight and a half years is in fact the longest Shuman has stayed at one college, something she credits to her love of [...]

    Read more →
  • News

    Meal plans change after ten years

    By CHRISTINA BRYSON News Editor brysonc@allegheny.edu The college updated meal plans available for students at the end of the 2014 academic year. The student life committee, Joe DiChristina, dean of students, Linda Wetsell, chief financial officer and treasurer, and Bill Watts, general manager for Parkhurst Dining Services at Allegheny College worked together during the spring 2014 semester to discuss altering available plans. Before updating the plans, there were ten plans available compared to the five current plans: Complete Plan, Daily [...]

    Read more →
  • News Library continues renovations into fall semester

    Library continues renovations into fall semester

    By CHRISTINA BRYSON News Editor brysonc@allegheny.edu The Pelletier Library will be under ongoing construction throughout the fall semester. Construction began last May, post commencement, and is expected to end Jan. 15. The renovations stem from the addition of the Gateway which will be added to the building following construction. The college worked with Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel Architects on redesigning the main floor and the third floor of the building. Linda Bills, library director, is confident the renovations will [...]

    Read more →
  • Cross country Sports

    Q&A: Meet Jordan Hill, assistant cross-country coach

    By SAM STEPHENSON Co-Editor-in-Chief stephensons@allegheny.edu   Jordan Hill, Allegheny’s new assistant cross country and track coach specializing in sprint, hurdles and relays, joined the Allegheny coaching staff in August. Hill, coming from Baldwin Wallace, joins the Gator staff after being named the 2014 Men’s National and Great Lakes Regional Assistant Outdoor Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Her coaching of eventual national champion sprinter Kevin Johnson in the 100 and [...]

    Read more →
  • Football Sports Gator football anticipates a hopeful season

    Gator football anticipates a hopeful season

    By CHLOE KEDZIORA Junior Sports Editor kedziorac@allegheny.edu   Allegheny’s football team has been preparing for the start of their official season. This year’s preseason has a bright future thanks to some changes made by coaches and team members. “The way we kick changed,  the way we play offense changed, the way we play defense, as far as the systems go,” Coach Matlak said. “I think those are probably the major changes that we’ve made.” Struggling after an 0-10 season, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Science Students maintain Carrden during summer months

    Students maintain Carrden during summer months

    Garden manager hopes to expand campus impact By AMANDA SPADARO Co-Editor-in-Chief spadaroa@allegheny.edu   The garden outside of Carr Hall, deemed the Carrden by the Allegheny community, has its most productive season when many students are off-campus for the summer. While classes are not in session, the Carrden is in full swing, with student workers helping to maintain the garden all summer. Kerstin Martin, garden manager and co-principle investigator for the community wellness initiative, works on planning, maintaining and improving the [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion The simple things comic 8-29-14

    The simple things comic 8-29-14

    Read more →