Alden Scholars: Allegheny’s honors go unnoticed

October 6, 2011 11:47 PM 1 comment Views: 682


News Editor

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.”

  • 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

  • Softball Sports

    Softball finishes stretch 5-1

    Nealer awarded NCAC Player of the Week after strong weekend By PAT JAMESON Sports Editor It was a busy week for Allegheny Softball, playing six double headers in a four day span, ending the stretch 5-1. On Saturday April 5th, the Gators (10-1, 5-1NCAC) squared off against Denison College in their first conference matchup, dropping their sole loss of the week to the Big Red during the second bout of the day. The Gators dominated the first game using [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports

    Historic weekend propels Gators to win

    By Emerald Wright-Collie Staff Writer Men’s tennis faced off against Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan this past weekend in Delaware, Ohio. The Gators (9-4) won in convincing fashion, sweeping both squads on consecutive days to push their win streak to three. Standout Pat Cole, ’14 was named NCAC Player of the Week for a record breaking performance in the matchups.   “I think the fact that we have a lot of veterans on the team has contributed to our success [...]

    Read more →
  • Science

    This Week in Science 4-10-14

    By AMANDA SPADARO Science Editor During the early morning hours of April 15, a lunar eclipse will be visible from the Western Hemisphere. When a lunar eclipse occurs, the moon must be full and the earth must be aligned to block the sun from the moon. The moon moves behind Earth, preventing the reflection of the sun’s rays that gives the moon its luminescence. This type of eclipse may be safely watched, unlike a solar eclipse, which is when [...]

    Read more →
  • Science

    Just for the health of it

    Columnist: Three tips to optimize your workout time By GAVIN NIRMAIER Columnist I was a sophomore in high school when I first began seriously exercising. My dad bought me some dumbbells, a weight bench, and a heavy bag and set up an exercise area in my basement. I would literally spend hours in the basement lifting weights, looking up videos concerning form, and doing my best to educate myself about training. I was (naïvely) a strong believer that the [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    ReproCo: Just the Tips 4-10-14

    Fundamentals of dirty talk By CASANDRA DELLAS Contributing Writer     Dirty Talk. Some people love it, others can’t stand it. This week’s Just the Tips will walk you all through some of the finer points to making steamy conversations with your sexual partner. Before starting, understand that overall tone and volume can be an effective tool to creating a sexually charged atmosphere as well. Whatever phrase you say can be changed drastically by whispering it in your partner’s [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion The Simple Things 4-10-14

    The Simple Things 4-10-14

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Editor: CNN’s coverage of Malaysian mystery controversial

    By REBECCA FOX Opinion Editor   With twenty-four hour news networks growing popularity around the country, we are seeing more and more updates of information and less investigative newsworthy reporting. When I look at my new source, CNN, I see this everyday. As a communication arts major and a journalism in the public interest minor, I am constantly questioning the ethical choices that go behind reporting in today’s media society. Because of media technology in our generation, there is [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Active Minds: How to beat stress and depression

    By MICHAELA COWDEN Contributing Writer   With the school year’s end rapidly approaching, the pressure is definitely on. Professors are squeezing in the last of their material and students are scrambling to complete assignments. And while summer, in our minds, should be a period of care-free  living, it is often filled with stressors all its own. Finding a job, landing an internship, taking summer classes and readjusting to living in your parents’ home again can all take its toll. [...]

    Read more →