On Saturday, May 21, the Honors College recognized the 138 students in the class of 2012 who completed all college requirements and would be graduating the next day from the University of Vermont as Honors College Scholars.
That is a record number of students who have graduated from the Honors College in a single year, and it was standing room only as proud families filled the Ira Allen Chapel. The scholars were led into the college's ceremony by Kelley Groll '12, the Honors College Banner Bearer. Groll was one of three Honors College student marshals for commencement weekend; she shared the honor with Todd Stanley (who carried the banner out of the Honors College ceremony) and Elizabeth Sander (who carried the banner for the university commencement the next day). All three students were chosen to represent their class for their outstanding academic work and perfect grade point average.
"I want to mention two things that stand out when I look at your class," Dean Abu Rizvi said in his farewell remarks to the graduates. "The first is the individual dedication and commitment each of you has had to what you've accomplished here: your work here has a meaning to each of you that goes well beyond the grades or recognitions you've received; your accomplishment at UVM has gone along with a transformation of your lives into what you've become today; your work and your lives have grown and changed together."
"The second is the community that you've been part of. I know from what each of you have done that this academic learning community goes well beyond the Honors College, extending to all of the colleges at UVM, reaching across to many students, including those you met in your first and second years, and involving your many and deep connections to your professors and mentors."
University officials were also on hand to honor the class of 2012. Provost Jane Knodell and President John Bramley each congratulated the students and wished them well on their next life chapter.
Professor John Gennari, who served as faculty marshal for the ceremony, called each student up to the platform to be recognized as an Honors College Scholar. Bramley, Knodell and Rizvi distributed medallions to each student. The medallion serves as the official recognition that a student graduates as an Honors College Scholar.
In addition to their scholar status, many students were recognized for summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa honors. Numerous students also graduated with departmental awards.
Students did not officially graduate from the university until the following day at the university-wide commencement ceremony. At that ceremony, Honors College students received many of the top university awards. Molly Campbell won the Mary Jean Simpson Award, honoring the senior woman who exhibits the highest qualities of leadership, academic competence and character. Caitlin Patterson won the Class of 1967 Award, presented to seniors who best exhibit leadership, academic competence and character, and who have earned the respect of faculty and fellow students. Katie Rifken won the Keith M. Miser Leadership Award. And Sander also received the Hannah Howard Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is the highest award from that college.
Postgraduate plans vary for Honors College scholars; many are moving to new cities and beginning new jobs. Some have accepted postgraduate fellowship opportunities, including the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and Teach for America. Others are going to graduate school, including the University of Chicago and Cornell University. Still others are going to take some time to travel, relax, regroup and get ready for their next adventure. Wherever they go, the Honors College wishes its graduates the best of luck, and we hope to hear from you in the future.