The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Dec. 16, 2002

UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to honor top graduates

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has invited the College’s top December graduates to the semi-annual Commencement Honors Reception from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in the North Room at the Iowa Memorial Union.

The reception honors students who have earned highest distinction, high distinction, distinction or honors in a particular department and gives them an opportunity to introduce their parents, families and guests to collegiate faculty and administrators, including Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Maxson said she initiated this tradition in May 1998 at the end of her first academic year at the UI to give additional recognition to the college's highest achieving students.

"These students are simply outstanding in their fields and have achieved a level of excellence that deserves extra attention," she said.

To graduate with honors, students must complete the honors requirements for their major, including an honors thesis supervised by a faculty advisor. Students graduating with honors wear white cordons draped over their shoulders at the commencement ceremony.

Earning distinction, high distinction or highest distinction depends on the student's class rank. Students in the top 2 percent of the class (for December 2002 graduates this includes those with grade-point averages between 3.98-4.00) earn highest distinction. Students in the next highest 3 percent (for December 2002, 3.87-3.97 GPA) earn high distinction. Students in the next highest 5 percent (for December 2002, 3.73-3.86 GPA) earn distinction.

To graduate with distinction students must also have completed the final 60 semester hours in residence in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and at least 45 of the final 60 semester hours must have been completed prior to the final semester of registration. These students can be identified at commencement by stars worn on the left sleeve: three stars for highest distinction, two stars for high distinction, and one star for distinction.