University hands out President’s Awards to wrong students

Sal Iovino, Print Managing Editor

Many students on campus were surprised to be notified that they had received the Bucknell President’s Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement — despite not meeting the 4.00 requirement.  

It is awarded annually to those students who demonstrate the highest level of academic achievement by attaining a cumulative GPA of 4.00, as stated on the University’s official website. But, a number of students were given the award in early October that never met the prerequisite. 

The initial reaction on campus was confusion — many students who received the award could discern that they falsely received it simply by checking their own academic progress report. 

However, an email sent by Robert M. Midkiff, vice president for Strategic Initiatives, curbed the skepticism that many students had about their eligibility for the award.

“Congratulations on receipt of an annual student award,” the email read. “The awards given in the semester are based on work completed in the prior academic year or years, and recognize student achievements and accomplishments in both curricular and co-curricular activities. It is my pleasure, on behalf of my colleagues across the university, to provide the enclosed award. In addition, you will be listed on the Office of the Provost website as an award recipient for Fall 2022.”

Notably, a GPA requirement was not mentioned within the email, allowing some students to believe that the requirement had changed or been lifted. This optimism lasted almost 10 days until a large group of the award’s recipients received an email from Tim Kracker, an employee at Bucknell’s Office of the Registrar. 

Due to a technical error you were incorrectly identified as a recipient of the Fall 2022 President’s Award for Academic Achievement, which is awarded to those students who maintain a 4.0 cumulative GPA after each academic year,” read Krackers’s email. “I sincerely apologize for this error.  Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.” 

This was a corrective measure by the university to address the mistake; however, the apology did not remedy the situation for everyone. 

“It’s confusing how an error like this could occur and definitely disappointing,” Kyra DeVoe ‘23 said. “The letter that came along with the award didn’t specify needing a 4.0 to be recognized so students that were wrongfully awarded and still have good GPA’s were quick to believe they received an award from the school. Also, it’s unfortunate for those who actually earned the award because this definitely takes the conversation away from their achievement and focuses on the schools mistake.”  

The school’s acknowledgement of the mistake certainly helped temper the response from the student body, but the issue of the accidental awarding remains for some.  

I am shocked and disappointed with the mistake Bucknell made in regards to the President’s award,” Maya Wadwha ‘23’ said. “Not only did it falsely identify students who did not meet the requirements to receive the award, but it also took away the feelings of prestige that students who earned the award worked hard for. Bucknell needs to do better.”

At this time, it is unclear if the University has plans to award the accidental recipients of the President’s award, but students look forward to any further developments.

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