By Lex Gouyton for the Collegian editorial board
Being named Scholar of the College is an incredible achievement, but when there’s a mistake and five seniors ended up qualifying instead of just one, shouldn’t this be communicated with the student body and faculty?
On Aug. 23, Southwestern recognized Hanna White, physical education and math senior, as Scholar of the College at the annual Opening Convocation.
On Sept. 25, Ross Peterson-Veatch, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college, notified Abby Bertholf, biochemistry senior, Donovan McMullen, sport management senior, Tessa Castor, English senior, and Cameron Goodrich, biology and biochemistry senior, via email that they too earned the Scholar of the College recognition. The email stated, “The Dean’s Office will be announcing this to the campus and including your name in the press release about this year’s Scholar of the College honor.”
More than a month later, a press release has yet to be issued.
The lack of communication surrounding the achievements has caused some disappointment from not only students, but faculty as well.
Kevin Frady, head baseball coach, made it very clear he was disappointed in the lack of communication on the subject when one of his players, McMullen, was named among the five.
Frady did not learn about McMullen being awarded with the title until the Collegian reached out to Frady for an interview for our October print edition.
“I was just disappointed, because it is something to learn about a week or, dang, near two weeks after he was named it,” said Frady. “To learn about it as his head coach and as the person who brought him here, it was disappointing, because this is something that both sides need to be able to celebrate, academically and athletically.”
This is the first time a baseball player has been named Scholar of the College.
“It is something that we can sell to families on Twitter and on our website for athletics, but we weren’t given that chance because no none notified us,” said Frady. “At the end of the day, there were a lot of other schools in the country Donnie could have gone to for academics, but he chose to come here to play baseball. I just am a little disappointed that it took so long and I learned in the manner I did.”
One of Castor’s professors, Cheryl Rude, professor of leadership studies, also wasn’t told about the college’s mistake.
Rude said, “I don’t recollect any communication from the institution. I think, like in all situations, there’s many ways to choose how to handle mistakes, confusion or misinterpretation. I imagine it’s a fairly awkward situation in terms of publicly announcing one thing and having that not be correct.”
Could the communication on the matter have been handled better than the way it was? We think so.
Without recognizing the remaining Scholars of the College, the college is ignoring its mistake and essentially withholding the honor from Bertholf, Goodrich, Castor and McMullen. We believe the institution should assume responsibility for its mistake and honor the students it has ignored.
Academics are the cornerstone of institution, why the institution exists in the first place. Academic achievement should be celebrated at every opportunity.
Will there ever be a press release sent out to the staff and students about the awards these individuals have received? We’ll just have to see. We can only hope that communication is handled better in the future.