The Gustavian Weekly

Honors Weekend draws attention to academic excellence

By Ella Napton - Staff Writer | May 12, 2017 | News

Gustavus is proud to be home of many elite students. From winners of Fulbright scholarships, to internships at Harvard, there is no shortage of high-achieving students at Gustavus. As a community, Gustavus does not let its pride fall short and spends an entire weekend every spring celebrating its most elite scholars, musicians, and artists. Honors Weekends is used as a time to celebrate and showcase the college’s various talents and accomplishments.

From the convocation of the President’s honors list and various scholarship winners to the pinning of nursing students every outstanding student at Gustavus has a chance to be recognized. Those who were put on the President’s Honors List had to have a grade point average of 3.7 or higher, which is not an easy feat to acquire in college. This is especially true for students at a school such as Gustavus. Many students are extremely involved not only with their academics, but with extracurricular student organizations, varsity athletics, or music ensembles. Achieving such a grade point average as 3.7 proves even more challenging when taking these commitments into consideration as well. The Honors convocation on Saturday was considered the focal point of the entire Honors Weekend with its formal presentation of various scholarships and awards.

“Those attending the Honors Weekend convocation experienced a community of Gusties coming together to celebrate learning,” First-Year Kitty O’Connell said.

Sitting in the chapel surrounded by a vast amount of hard working students created an atmosphere one is likely not to come across unless attending a graduation ceremony. All of the students attending were engaged with various speakers, such Eric Carlson, who won the the 2016 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Carlson discussed fake news versus the liberal arts education. His talk rings especially true as the public is bombarded by new fake news each and every day in regards to the current administration and their opponents. He outlined the importance of the liberal arts education in combating fake news and the curiosity the liberal arts education provides its students.

“What stood out about the Honors Weekend convocation the most was hearing the inspiring stories of what Gusties have done and what they plan to do in the future; it’s so wonderful to hear about all of these driven, passionate people doing their thing,” O’Connell said. Watching upperclassmen walk forward and receive awards for their abundant efforts was incredibly inspiring, especially hearing about what many of them get to do with the awards won. Such as hearing about Laura Isdahl’s Fulbright Grant, which will allow her to teach English in Malaysia this coming year.

“Honors day was a time to see other Gusties’ accomplishments and hear about other people’s amazing work. It was cool to see friends and classmates receive recognition for their academic success” Isdahl said. “I enjoyed seeing the wide range of awards for students. There were awards for each major, research projects, GPA, and so much more. It is great to see people recognized from all areas of the college. I also loved seeing a large number of women winning awards in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as the sciences and physics”

Those who participated in the musical aspects of the weekend, such as the Gustavus Choral Showcase on Saturday, May 6, in Christ Chapel felt the same emotions and inspirations emitted by those at the Honors Weekend Convocation earlier in the day.

Not only were the students emotional about wrapping up this year’s series of choir concerts, but “it was an amazing experience and was an emotional performance in memory of my choir director’s mentor,” First-Year Hannah Reischauer said.

“Performing the final piece in the concert was what stood out to me because it was in memory of my choir directors mentor and the power of the voices of all choirs combined was intense and emotional,” Reischauer said.

On Sunday another event, called Night of Distinction occurred. The purpose of this particular part of Honors Weekend is to celebrate students who have gone above and beyond with their academic and co-curricular leadership and involvement.

“Attending the Night of Distinction, I was surrounded by some of the most accomplished Gusties, who have dedicated themselves to improving and leading many organizations on campus,” Isdahl said. “I enjoyed seeing Professor Jill Locke receive recognition for her teaching abilities. She has been one of the most influential professors during my time at Gustavus, and I was thrilled to see her recognized for her commitment to justice and academic excellence.”

As the semester wraps up it was important to recognize Gustavus’ students for the academic and extracurricular excellence and Honors Weekend was the perfect way in which to do this. From choral concerts to convocations there was truly something for everyone.