Academic Honors and Awards

At the start of spring semester, the Class Marshals and Banner Bearers are selected by the faculty to represent the graduating class at Commencement. Each year, two class marshals and two banner bearers (plus two alternates) are chosen based on academic excellence as measured by the cumulative grade-point average.

Students are selected to receive Graduation with Distinction, also based on academic excellence, as measured by the cumulative grade-point average. Out of the top 15 percent of the graduates for the academic year, up to 10 percent of the students may be selected to receive this honor.

The Latin Honors program was established to promote the school’s mission to create and disseminate knowledge about hospitality management to the global hospitality industry by encouraging student research. Students leverage theories acquired from coursework to create new knowledge, to develop meaningful relationships with a faculty thesis advisor, and to demonstrate mastery of research skills to graduate schools and future employers. In the final year of their matriculation, students engage in two semesters and 6 credits of research directed by the school’s professorial faculty and are recognized upon completion with a Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude designation commensurate with the quality of their completed theses and academic qualifications.

Merrill Presidential Scholars rank among the top 5 percent in their respective schools and colleges at the university. In the School of Hotel Administration, two fourth-year students selected by the dean may pay tribute to the secondary school and college teachers who have had a vital effect on their academic careers. The students and their teachers are honored at a luncheon hosted by the president of the university, generally in the week immediately preceding Commencement.