Honors cords allowed at commencement

Staci Canny

The anticipation has finally ended: the University Commencement Committee will allow 17 honor societies, along with the University Honors Program to wear their cords at the May 20, 2012 Commencement Ceremony.

On Thursday, Student Body President Ben Cloutier and Senior Class Representative Andrew McDermott met with four administrative members.

“We developed a proposal, and President Lahey helped us set up a meeting with all the administrators who all had a piece of information in the same room at the same time,” McDermott said.

While Lahey and some of the University Commencement Committee’s members were unavailable for Thursday’s meeting, Lahey directed the SGA members to meet with Mark Thompson, vice president for academic and student affairs, Terri Johnson, director of academic affairs, Karla Natale, director of special events, and Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs.

“The best quote is when Mark Thompson said ‘I’ve wanted to say no to you, but because I’ve said no to you every year in the past, this has all the questions I can think of,’” McDermott said. “‘This has answered everything I can think of, so I can’t say no to it, so we’re going to allow it.’”

The meeting lasted a mere 10 minutes until the administrative members came to a joint decision, according to McDermott.

“They had a couple questions, but I was definitely not expecting that; it was definitely a good surprise,” McDermott said.

An important component of the proposal was developing a color guide, to be able to distinguish the gold Latin academic cords already in place from the honor society cords, McDermott said.

While other societies, including Greek life and Order of Omega, an honor society within Greek life, have expressed interest in wearing cords, according to McDermott the administrators made it clear that they want to keep the Commencement Ceremony academic-based.

The proposal also included research from Quinnipiac’s list of 20 peer universities, which are used as benchmarks before making a decision. Out of the 13 universities that responded, 11 said that they do allow academic honor societies to wear cords, McDermott said.

For McDermott, despite both the honor societies he belongs to not appearing on the list of approval, he is still happy to have accomplished this achievement.

“I’m not affected by it, but I know that it’s going to affect 260 students,” McDermott said. “Even just in the past 24 hours, since this happened people who I don’t even know have been coming up to me, and they’re like ‘thank you, I’m wearing my honors cords now and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.’”

University Honors Program co-presidents Erin Hodgson and Julianne Gardner, who wrote a letter on behalf of the Honors Program to support the policy change, were happy to hear about the approval.

“While I had been planning to wear my honors cords with or without approval, it is nice that we are all now officially allowed to wear our cords,” Hodgson, a member of Alpha Kappa Delta said. “It shows that Quinnipiac is in support of recognizing our efforts in our various disciplines.”

Ivy Laplante, a member of Beta Beta Beta and Phi Sigma, expressed her excitement for the change as well.

“In the past we have been only recognized for our academic achievements at the individual honor societies’ recognition ceremonies,” Laplante said. “I am excited to be recognized on a larger scale at graduation. I also think it will highlight the diversity of every student on campus.”