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Honors Convocation pays respect, inspires

By Kaitlyn Dahle
On April 17, 2014

This past Tuesday, there was something quite amazing taking place in the Culp Center Auditorium at East Tennessee State University: There were students from all walks of life involved a ceremony to honor their hard work and achievements one month before their graduations. 

It was the Honors Convocation and it was inspiring.

These students were seniors, and this ceremony was to honor all of the graduates who did exceptionally well in their academics. 

These students were awarded based on their cumulative GPA with cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude. 

The minimum GPA to receive cum laude is 3.50, magna cum laude minimum is 3.65 and summa cum laude have a 3.85 and above cumulative GPA.

Now, a senior doesn't have to be in the honors college or in an honors fraternity or anything like that to receive these awards. It's based solely on cumulative GPA. 

But all of the students in the different branches of the honors college - Midway Honors, University Honors, etc. - were awarded with sashes to wear over their robes for graduation as well as an academic excellence certificate, regardless of GPA.

There were students who were awarded medals and certificates in excellence in their field of study, like foreign language, literature and language, the sciences, etc. 

Being a volunteer at this ceremony was really inspiring, as I'm sure it was for all of the other volunteers who worked the ceremony.

I was in a small group of women who were handing out the official awards to the future graduates after they had walked off the stage with something like a "placeholder" certificate. 

We speculated why this is. I came up with a conclusion that just in case someone tries to do something dumb on stage during the ceremony like flash people, then they will punish that hooligan by refusing to give the student their diploma or award as punishment. 

The most likely explanation though is so that the graduation ceremony will run faster and smoother with placeholders instead of people searching for the correct degree right there on stage.

While handing out the diplomas, I saw familiar faces and strangers, students young and old, male and female. 

It was really inspirational and motivational watching all of these successful students win a few more awards in their undergraduate career before they receive the biggest award of all: their degrees. 

It is inspiring me to work harder in my classes, for I have only a few semesters left in my academic career. 

I am hopeful in pulling up my GPA to a high enough level to graduate cum laude next spring.

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