By definition, the valedictorian is the student in a graduating class who ranks highest academically. Other factors such as service, commitment and length of time at the current institution are not considered.
Due to discontent that last year’s valedictorian, Cameron Dawson ’10, transferred to Rollins from UCF two years into her college education, the Academic Affairs Committee considered adjusting the requirements to become valedictorian. Many colleges similar to Rollins consider other factors.
Washington and Lee University, for example, only counts the GPA from the last two years. And some universities do not have a valedictorian at all. Advisors at Hamilton Holt, Rollins’ night school, first look at the students who are summa cum laude and then evaluate them based on other factors such as community service.
Many ideas were discussed about changing our valedictorian procedures. Dr. Gloria Cook, associate professor of piano, suggested “the selected student’s accomplishments and activities be tied into the Rollins mission statement of educating for global citizenship and responsible leadership.”
After much debate, the Academic Affairs Committee settled on the following proposal: Each year, the top 10 students with the highest GPA would be invited to apply for valedictorian. The student would have to have ample service experience and be active around Rollins’ campus and in the community. Each student would need two faculty references and reference from someone familiar with the service experience. Transfer students would be considered, but the application would favor four-year Rollins students who would have had more time to make an impact on the campus.
The motion to change the valedictorian procedures was approved by the Academic Affairs Committee, but then denied in a faculty-wide vote.