A significant change to Ohio Northern University’s Honors Day celebration of students’ academic success has been caused by declining guest attendance and to alleviate congestion to the busy end-of-the-school year calendar, according to college officials.

This year’s special activities will be conducted on Tuesday, April 4 rather than the customary Saturday date two weeks before final exams. Honors Day has been reserved for a Saturday since 2000.

President Daniel DiBiasio, members of his cabinet and deans of each college carefully examined previous Honors Day attendance rates. This group also solicited feedback from students and their family members.

The number of students attending the convocation ceremony and the guest reservation list for the convocation luncheon have been declining steadily.

Having Honors Day on a Saturday conflicts with spring athletic events, preventing student-athletes from being recognized for their academic achievements.  

“Taking a Saturday away from students two weeks prior to the end of the term was difficult as that just made their weekend schedule more congested. Families of seniors commented that it was expensive to come to campus for Honors Day so close to a trip for commencement,” said Juliet Hurtig, associate vice president for academic affairs.

Before 2000 the annual celebration had always been conducted on a weekday, with classes in recess. Classes will be canceled on April 4 to encourage students to attend their academic department’s honor ceremony and other campus festivities.

The cancellation of classes permits all students to participate, as we could ensure that athletics would clear a weekday from competitions,” Hurtig explained. “Students would note that we were not taking a Saturday away from their busy academic study schedule.”

The T.J. Smull College of Engineering has moved its Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony to Commencement Weekend, assisting families who wanted to attend both events in one campus trip. Additionally, canceling the convocation and luncheon has freed up the Honors Day schedule to permit departments to have fewer conflicts with multiple events.

Hurtig notes that this change isn’t permanent. The Honors Day Committee will review feedback following this year’s celebration before scheduling future Honors Day events.  

A full schedule of the 2017 Honors Day schedule can be found at http://www.onu.edu/academics/honors_day. 

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