Academic honors absent from this year’s commencement ceremony


In this May 23, 2016, file photo, Lehigh’s Class of 2016 Commencement and Convocation takes place at Goodman Stadium. This year’s ceremony will only include the honors, awards and prizes in the event pamphlet. (Meg Kelly/B&W Staff)

Graduating Lehigh students who receive academic honors, awards and prizes will not be publicly recognized during this year’s commencement and convocation ceremonies.

In past years, individual accomplishments were announced at the ceremonies, giving students the opportunity to be acknowledged by their classmates and professors.

“I don’t think it’s fair because you work really hard throughout your four years here,” Emilee Strange, ’17, said. “It feels as though recognition of your hard work is taken away.”

According to the Office of University Events, the reason for this change can be attributed to the extra week that was added during the 2014-15 academic year to accommodate a new winter session. This caused the posting of final grades to be delayed until after commencement due to a shorter spring semester.

Starting this year, the students’ academic honors will be listed in the ceremony’s program and will only take fall semester grades into account. These awards are subject to change after the inclusion of final GPA and class grades.

Jazmine Alicea, ’17, thinks this new system is unfair to students who have worked hard for their good grades. She said Lehigh should clearly inform award recipients that their academic honors might be changed after commencement weekend.

Steve Wilson, the director of Institutional Assessment, wrote in an email that commencement is mainly a ceremony of celebration for those who are expected to complete their degrees.

We include the names of students who have registered their expectation of graduation,” Wilson wrote, “but sometimes circumstances delay their completion by one or more semesters.”

Once final grades and GPA are calculated, a confirmed academic honors list, including final spring semester grades, will be posted online by July 1.

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