Our students represent a wide range of abilities and of attainments. Of those who enter the college as freshmen, only about one-third ever graduate. The reasons for this are many, but the two major ones are finances and scholastic standing. Not a few arc forced to discontinue before they have finished, be-cause of lack of money. A considerable number drop out because the more advanced studies are too difficult for them, and they do not pass the courses.
Those who succeed in living through the severe weeding out process represent, in general, men of persistence and of at least a fair amount of ability. To be graduated is an achievement.
But even among those who are successful in this respect, a wide difference in ability is to be found. The men range from those merely rising to the minimum standards set, to those who accomplish a broad and serviceable education. They spread from doers to thinkers, from followers to leaders, from routine workers to scholars.
Honors Day has been established to recognize superior attainment, at any stage of the work. Each class, freshman to senior, in each college supplies its upper ten per cent to a list that is published as a University Honors List. These individuals are announced at a special all-university convocation held about the first of May. Their parents are invited to be present on this impressive occasion.
Feeling that this recognition is very well deserved, we have agreed that the plan is to be continued. One of its limitations, however, is the very definite one that when the day is over, no official stamp of approval remains in possession of the student.
To emphasize the value of scholarship, the several colleges are now setting up somewhat different plans for selecting seniors who are distinguishing themselves above all others, for the purpose of conferring upon them their bachelors' degrees "WITH DISTINCTION.'' Only a few such in each college will lie chosen each year for this honor.
In the College of Engineering, the plan adopted rests primarily upon superior scholarship. The evidence of excellent grades and breadth of scholarship makes a man automatically eligible for consideration by our special committee. The actual recommendation is made by the faculty, while the award itself comes with the degree, from the Board of Regents. The recipient will receive a diploma bearing the inscription "WITH DISTINCTION."
When very unusual merit is proven, the diploma will read "WITH HIGH DICTINCTION." This award may not be made every year, and the number of such is highly indeterminate,—perhaps one in two or three years. Upon the other hand. graduation with distinction is within the reach of some five or six per cent of the class.
Besides these recognitions, there are certain individual awards to engineering students, which should be noted.
To the sophomore engineer who, during the preceding year, as a freshman, has made the highest weighted average for the year, Sigma Tail presents a gold medal of beautiful design. This is an honor worthy of arousing the keenest competition among freshmen. It is to be regretted that the men of the class are scarcely aware of the offering, and generally the medal comes as a surprise to its recipient.
Hereafter regular staff members of the Blue Print who have done good work for the publication, will have an opportunity to receive awards of silver medals as described elsewhere in this magazine. The first impressions of these medals are Just being received, and they too are very beautiful. Their possessors will be proud of them.
It has been the custom of the Student Branch of The American Society of Civil Engineers to give a slide rule as a prize to the sophomore civil engineering student with the highest average grades for the freshman year. This gift is made in the fall.
Professor Mickey offers an annual prize of a handbook to the upperclass civil engineering student who has made the greatest increase in his scholastic standing, as calculated upon an equitable basis.
The Student Branch of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers annually awards a key to the agricultural engineer who is the most representative man among them. Selection is made jointly by faculty and students.
The O. J. Fee trophy is a large shield, presented by Mr. Fee several years ago, upon which is inscribed the name of that senior engineer selected by his fellows as the most outstanding man of the class. The choice is made upon the foundational idea of Sigma Tau, namely, scholarship, practicality and sociability.
The W. M. Sawyer Scholarship provides an annual sum of $100, which is
given to an engineering student chosen for this honor, bv the faculty and