Last week ACU announced the 50 graduating seniors who received the honor of being a University Scholar.
This award is special because the faculty chooses the recipients; it is not something the students sign up for. It’s recognition for the hard work the seniors have put in throughout their time at ACU, said Parker Gordon, senior music major from Lipan and recipient of the award for the Political Science Department.
“It’s not just a matter of checking off the right boxes,” Gordon said. “I took advantage of many opportunities within my departments to be involved. I participated in ensembles like the band and orchestra and worked to start a wind quintet, I conducted research for the undergrad festival and other conferences, and I took advantage of the honor societies on campus such as Alpha Chi and Phi Eta Sigma.”
Dr. Brenda Bender, chair of the Communications Department and head of the Faculty Senate said this year 72 seniors were nominated. Then the University Scholar sub-committee was able to narrow those down to the 50 who received the honor.
“26 awards were designated as department awards; the remaining 44 nominations were considered for the 24 at-large awards,” Bender said. “The at-large awards are distributed across colleges based on enrollment.”
In order to be nominated for the University Scholar Award, seniors must have maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher, have participated in research at a scholarly level and have earned 90 hours toward their degree by the end of the preceding fall semester.
The University Scholars will be recognized at a special Chapel April 15, during which they will receive their medal to be worn during graduation.
Caroline Nikolaus, senior psychology major from O’Fallon, Ill. and University Scholar said she was excited and surprised to have received this honor.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” she said. “When I received the email, I had to re-read it to make sure it was accurate. I can’t wait to see who else is a University Scholar.”
Gordon echoes Nikolaus’ sentiment because after graduation everyone is heading separate ways.
“I was very excited to learn that I had won the award, but so thrilled to learn that two of my other close friends had also won,” Gordon said. “It’s great to get to share this experience with your friends, especially as we all start moving to grad school and different cities. I’m glad to share this with them.”