Students who, in the course of a year (September to September), complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours and achieve a grade point average of 3.20 or higher are designated as Alden Scholars. Students who achieve a grade point average of 3.80 or higher receive special recognition as Distinguished Alden Scholars. Grades of Credit and No Credit are not considered in making Alden Scholar designations. However, credit hours earned for grades of Credit do count toward the minimum hours required for Alden Scholars. For students studying abroad for the full year, the grades submitted by the foreign institution will be used whenever possible. However, the grades will be evaluated within the context of the foreign institution’s grading system, and other pertinent data will be taken into account in each case. For students who study abroad for one semester, Alden Scholar eligibility for that year will be determined by considering both the Allegheny record and the grades from the foreign institution. At least 16 semester credit hours must be completed during the semester at Allegheny.
Students named as Alden Scholars during their senior year and/or at any time during their undergraduate career are recognized in the Commencement program at the time of graduation and on their academic record.
Each year up to 30 students from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes are honored as Doane Distinguished Scholars. These students have earned the highest cumulative averages in their respective classes, are awarded a prize and a medal, and receive recognition in the Commencement program, at the Alden Scholar Banquet, and on their academic record. The 30 annual awards are made possible through the generosity of the late Mrs. Sandra Doane Turk.
Students who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.90, with at least 64 semester credit hours taken at Allegheny and evaluated on the letter-grade basis, may be awarded their degrees summa cum laude. Students who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.70, with at least 64 semester credit hours taken at Allegheny and evaluated on the letter-grade basis, may be awarded their degrees magna cum laude. Students who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.50, with at least 64 semester credit hours taken at Allegheny and evaluated on the letter-grade basis, may be awarded their degrees cum laude. Whether awards are finally made will depend upon the total academic record of the student, including his or her compliance with the College Honor Code and vote of the faculty. The sanction of Probation, Suspension, or Expulsion received for academic violations will disqualify a student from consideration for Latin Honors.
Major Field Honors
At the conclusion of the senior year, students who have done distinguished work in the major field may be awarded honors in that field. Honors in a student-designed major will be awarded upon the decision of a committee consisting of the members of the Curriculum Committee and the individual student’s academic and senior project advisors.
Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa, a national academic honor society founded in 1776, has had a chapter at Allegheny since 1902. Members are elected from the senior class on the basis of scholarship and moral character. The breadth of a student’s program, as shown by high achievement in a variety of courses taken outside the major field of study, is a factor in election. Elections and initiation into the society take place twice each academic year. In the fall, students who have demonstrated exceptionally distinguished academic achievement through the sixth semester are elected and initiated at the beginning of their senior year. In the spring, other academically outstanding members of the senior class are elected and initiated in a ceremony before graduation. Inquiries about the selection process may be directed to the Office of the Dean of the College.
The student selected as valedictorian of the senior class embodies the highest level of academic achievement, scholarship, personal integrity, and ethical character in the tradition of liberal arts at Allegheny College. The valedictorian is selected by the Provost and Dean of the College on the basis of these criteria. Often the student in the graduating class with the highest GPA is chosen to be the valedictorian, but the depth, breadth, and rigor of a student’s program, as exemplified by high achievement in a variety of courses taken outside the major field of study are also important selection criteria. In addition, the Dean of Students Office is consulted to ensure that the student chosen as valedictorian has no Honor Code or significant disciplinary violations. The selection process occurs during the spring semester on the basis of the college record at that point in time. Two or more students may be named co-valedictorians if their records justify it, thought this happens only infrequently.