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  April 12, 2004

Honors Convocation To Begin A New Tradition

Students graduating with honors will be recognized in a special ceremony for the first time this year.

A new Honors Convocation will be held May 1 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre to honor about 150 students graduating from the Honors Program or as University Scholars, and those graduating with Degrees with Distinction.

"We want to give recognition to the accomplishments of students who have completed the rigorous curriculum of the Honors Program, including completing a thesis," says Lynne Goodstein, associate vice provost

and director of Honors Programs. "The Honors Convocation will bookmark these students' experience of being in honors, and celebrate their belonging to a university-wide community of scholars."

The ceremony, which is planned as an annual event, is intended to be "really dignified, with students and faculty in full regalia," says Meg Bishop, an administrative assistant with the Honors Program, who is coordinating the arrangements.

Presided over by President Philip E. Austin and Provost John D. Petersen, the convocation will begin with a procession, and will include an address and the presentation of a medal to each student. The 2003 Outstanding Honors Advisor, chemistry professor Harry Frank, will also receive an award from the Honors Council. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in Jorgensen Gallery.

Students who are accepted to the Honors Program as first-year students typically have earned a combined score of 1350 or higher on their SATs and were in the top 4 percent of their graduating high school class. Students who apply and are accepted to the Honors Program after their first semester at UConn must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher and must demonstrate their interest in academic enrichment and community engagement. To graduate with honors, students need 12 honors credits in 200 level courses in their majors and must complete an honors thesis.

The designation University Scholar, the highest academic distinction for undergraduates, enables a student to pursue an academic program tailored to his or her intellectual interests and abilities.

The Degree with Distinction is offered at the discretion of departments to recognize exceptional mastery of a discipline, and requires scholarly work significantly beyond the normal requirements for graduation. Successful candidates must attain a GPA in major courses of at least 3.5 and a total GPA of at least 3.2, as well as complete a project that demonstrates a high level of competence within the discipline.

In addition to the Honors Convocation, Scholars Day, a tradition established in 1994 to recognize high-achieving students, was held April 7 at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Eighty-six Babbidge Scholars — students who earned a 4.0 GPA in two consecutive semesters during the calendar year — and 1,545 New England Scholars (those who maintained a 3.5 GPA for two consecutive semesters during the calendar year) were recognized.