Commencement & Honors Banquet Awards

OFFICE OF RECORD: Office of the President
ISSUED BY: President
APPROVED BY: David Borofsky                                             01-58-00
EFFECTIVE DATE: 7/15/87 Last Reviewed 1/31/13



The President's Office, working in conjunction with several departments, makes all routine arrangements associated with the fall and spring commencement and the spring honors banquet and communicates necessary information regarding the vents to the campus and general public.


Honors Day Awards & Recognition

Nominations for recipients for awards and recognition at the Honors Day are solicited from the campus.

Honors Graduates (Recognition)

Undergraduate students who graduate during the previous December or upcoming May commencement ceremonies with academic honors will be recognized at the banquet. Academic honors for baccalaureate degrees include Summa Cum Laude (3.9 or above), Magna Cum Laude (3.7 to less than 3.9) and Cum Laude (3.5 to less than 3.7) and associate degrees include With Highest Honor (3.9 or above), with High Honor (3.7 to less than 3.9) and With Honor (3.5 to less than 3.7). This list of students will be provided by the Registrar.

Lowry Scholars (Award)

Awarded to a senior student from each college who has earned one of highest GPAs for the college (with a minimum requirement of a 3.5 cumulative and major GPA) and who has demonstrated significant scholarly involvement and achievement in their major. Scholarly involvement/achievement might be demonstrated by classroom participation, leadership among classmates, and/or interest in research or scholarly activities outside the scope of routine classroom assignments.  The faculty of each college submits one nominee and supporting documentation*.  A list of eligible students based on GPA will be provided to each college by the Registrar.  Any college having more than 500 majors (based on fall enrollments) will be allowed to recognize two students for this award.

*See "Documentation Required" below

Campus Student Leaders (Award)

Awarded to a maximum of five students who exemplify the highest degree of skills in management, communications, personal relations, vital involvement, and university accomplishments and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8. Any student, faculty, staff member, or recognized student organization can nominate a student for this award. Following the posted deadline for nominations, the Activities Office contacts each nominated student asking them to provide a list of their accomplishments for consideration by the Student Leadership Awards Committee. The Student Leadership Awards Committee will provide a list of no more than five students to be recognized. Students may not receive the Campus Student Leader award more than once.

College Leaders (Award)

Awarded to a maximum of two students per college. College Leaders must demonstrate outstanding leadership within a recognized college organization that is linked to the college’s majors. Leadership might be demonstrated through offices held, quantity or scope of projects or events participated in; or other forms of leadership demonstrated to the organization either publicly or behind the scenes. Nominees must be in good academic standing.   The faculty of each college submits no more than two names and supporting documentation*.

*See "Documentation Required" below

Outstanding DSU Artists (Award)

A maximum of two students whose achievements in the DSU performing and/or studio arts are superior and who are in good academic standing. Nominations may be made by any member of the DSU community to a committee of the Fine Arts faculty for screening.

*See "Documentation Required" below.

Student Senator of the Year (Recognition)

One Senator is selected each year to be recognized for their leadership ability. The recipient is selected by members of the Student Senate and the name is forwarded for recognition at the annual Honors Banquet.

Outstanding Athletes (Recognition)

One outstanding male and one outstanding female athlete in good academic standing whose team spirit and skill leads teammates and others to pursue excellence. These two students shall be recommended by the Athletic Director for recognition at the banquet.

Dusty Andersen (Recognition)

Presented to an outstanding male basketball or baseball player who also exhibits active participation in campus activities. Selection is made by the coaching staff.

Special Athletic Recognition (Recognition)

Athletes who have achieved All-American and/or All-District honors and athletes who have competed at the national level will be recognized at the banquet.

Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (Recognition)

Students chosen by a committee of faculty and students for recognition by this national organization. Selection is based on demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment, leadership in extra-curricular activities, citizenship and service to the school, and potential for future achievement. Names of students receiving this honor will be provided by the Director of Student Activities for recognition at the banquet.

Regental Awards (Recognition)

Presented by the South Dakota Board of Regents to student organizations to recognize meritorious efforts and achievements. The organizations receiving the State award will be recognized at the Banquet.

Other Awards

The President may add other special student awards to the Honors Day Program that further represent the excellence at DSU.

Documentation Required for Honors Banquet Award Nominations

Current and complete supporting documentation for the award categories listed above will be provided by the nominator(s) for each nominee. Complete documentation includes:

  1. letter of nomination outlining reasons nominee is recommended,
  2. a history of education and accomplishments

Supporting documentation for the recognition categories will be provided by the department or organization providing the recognition for each recipient. Documentation should include a listing of accomplishments or activities that distinguish the recipient in that particular category.

Commencement Awards

Honorary Doctorate (taken from Board of Regents Policy 2:18)

Purpose: The honorary doctorate degree is the highest honor bestowed by the Board of Regents and the universities. The purpose is to pay tribute to worthy individuals and at the same time enhance the universities by such action. The degree is not equivalent to or a replacement for an earned degree.

Eligibility: Substantial evidence of outstanding achievement must be presented. Careful distinction must be made between the extraordinary effort of talented, selfless and energetic individuals who have performed beyond the call of duty in service to humankind, in contrast to fulfilling normal expectations in service, employment, or professional requirements (including longevity). The recipient must be present at the convocation at which the degree is conferred. 

A.  An honorary doctorate degree may be granted to an individual who has:

  1. Achieved distinction in his/her profession; and/or
  2. Rendered outstanding contribution or service to the people of South Dakota; and/or
  3. Made a recognized scholarly or service contribution as a regional, national or international figure.

B.  Honorary doctorate degrees may not be awarded to the following public officers or employees during their terms of public service:

  1. Faculty members and administrators of a Regental university or special school.
  2. Regents or other officers of the State of South Dakota.
  3. Holders of Federal office as a representative of South Dakota.

Types of Honorary Doctorate Degrees: Institutional mission and complement of programs determines the types of honorary doctorate degrees that may be awarded. Honorary doctorate degrees may be selected from the following:.

  1. Doctor of Humane Letters
  2. Doctor of Laws
  3. Doctor of Letters and Literature
  4. Doctor of Public Service
  5. Doctor of Science.

Approval Process:

  1. The Board of Regents approves honorary doctorate degrees recommended by the universities.
  2. Each university shall establish a process for consideration of nominations for honorary doctorate degrees. Significant changes to that process will be reported to the Executive Director who will notify the Board.
  3. Recommendations from the universities are submitted to the Board of Regents prior to the commencement at which the degree is conferred.
  4. The Board of Regents may award honorary doctorate degrees on its own behalf. .

Exceptions: Exceptions must be approved by the Board of Regents or by the Executive Director if circumstances arise.  (end of Board of Regents Policy 2:18)

Distinguished Service Award

  1. The nominee may or may not be an alumnus of the institution.
  2. The nominee must have evidenced distinguished service to the University at the community, state, or national level.
  3. The nominee must indicate their willingness to be present at the time the award is conferred.

Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award

  1. The nominee must have a certificate or degree from Dakota State University.
  2. The nominee must have demonstrated distinguished professional activity in their field of endeavor.
  3. The nominee must indicate their willingness to be present at the time the award is conferred.

Documentation Required

Current and complete supporting documentation for the Commencement awards will be provided by the nominator(s) for each nominee.  Complete documentation includes:

  1. Letter of nomination outlining reasons nominee is recommended, and

  2. a history of education and accomplishments.

Nomination and Awards Process

The President's Office establishes a timetable in the Fall Semester to accomplish the following steps:

  1. Nominations are brought forward from the campus community for the Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, and the Honorary Doctorate.
  2. The President's Office forwards nominations and supporting documentation to General Faculty, Student Senate, and Alumni Board. (May be handled via email.)
  3. General Faculty, Student Senate, and Alumni Board meet to act on Honorary Doctorate, Distinguished Service and Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna nominees:

    ·  by (1) Strongly Recommending, (2) Recommending, or (3) Not Recommending each of the nominees. An indication of Not Recommend by any of these bodies will automatically remove the nominee from further consideration except for the Honorary Doctorate.

    ·  Honorary Doctorate nominees not recommended by the Alumni Board or Student Senate may be reconsidered by the General Faculty during step 5 (below). 

  4. The President chooses final list for the Distinguished Service and the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards, and Honorary Doctorate nominees. Honorary Doctorate candidates not recommended by the Alumni Board or Student Senate may be reconsidered by the General Faculty during step 5 (below).
  5. General Faculty meets to reconsider Honorary Doctorate candidate(s) as requested by the President.  (If needed).
  6. All award selections will be completed by March 1.
  7. Board of Regents reviews and approves or disapproves Honorary Doctorate candidate(s) submitted by President.
  8. Awards presented at Commencement.

Last Updated: 2/4/13