On May 12, Alfond Sports Center will be filled with caps and gowns— a sea of seniors anticipating their diplomas. Graduations mark both an end and a beginning, where one says hello to new opportunities and goodbye to longtime friends. Throughout the ceremony, graduates can remember the moments leading up to this defining milestone: midnight cramming sessions, internships, study abroad experiences, and Fox Days. While the Class of 2013 will be honored as a whole for their accomplishments, four individuals will be signaled out among the rest—the valedictorians.
The Dean of Student Affairs, Karen Hater oversees the announcement of valedictorians and works with the Office of Student Records in evaluating the academic performance of graduation seniors. Although the official announcement has not been released, Hater confirms that multiple valedictorians will represent the Class of 2013. This is not the first instance that qualifying candidates have tied for valedictorian. Last year, Christian Bromley and Michael van den Berg tied as leaders of their graduating class with the same 3.98 GPA.
“Students are selected as valedictorian based on their GPA only. The last semester does not count; we based it on their GPA for all semesters except their last one. The valedictorians for this year have been notified but an announcement won’t come out for another week or so,” Hater said.
The process of confirming valedictorians starts with Dean Hater, receiving a database of graduating seniors from the Office of Student Records. The database allows Hater to inform qualifying students of their valedictorian status. Transfer students are only eligible if they have spent three years at Rollins.
“The top person with the highest GPA is the valedictorian. If there is more than one person with a perfect 4.0 GPA then there are multiple valedictorians. There is no selection really involved,” Hater said.
Since there are four leaders of the graduating class, Student Affairs is currently selecting one student to deliver the commencement address. Each student has been asked to write a short essay, sharing what he or she plans to say during graduation. During this process, Hater states that speaking ability and campus involvement are not criteria. A subgroup of the Student Life Committee makes the final decision, selecting who will be the commencement speaker and represent all four valedictorians for the Class of 2013.