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Honors Graduation Awards

The LSA Honors Program selects graduating Honors students, nominated by their department of Honors major, to receive awards for producing outstanding senior theses or projects or for overall excellence in their discipline. These honorary awards, established by alumni and friends of Honors, are named for notable individuals, many who have made important contributions to their fields of study.

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Nomination Information

Each award requires a department nomination. Student self-nominations will not be considered.

December 2022 graduates are eligible to be nominated in 2023.

Departments:  Submit nomination materials via the Honors Graduation Awards Nomination form (closed until 2023).

When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example:  mmanty.pdf

Be sure to review the award drop-down boxes for:

-Eligibility requirements specific to each award

-Nomination requirements specific to each award

 

Questions? Email honors.prizes@umich.edu

 

Virginia L. Voss Memorial Award - Recognizes excellence in writing by Senior Honors women.

Eligibility requirements:

The Virginia L. Voss Memorial Awards for excellence in writing by senior Honors women were established in memory of the late Ms. Voss, an Honors graduate in the 1950s and college editor at Mademoiselle Magazine. These awards are given to graduating Honors women who display writing talent in one (or more) of the four categories listed below. Award amounts vary (~$1,000), and there is no set number of prizes. The four prize categories are: (1) academic writing (2) journalism (3) poetry (4) creative prose.

Application requirements:

• A departmental representative (e.g. Department Chair, Associate Chair, Honors Concentration Director, Faculty member, or Advisor) must nominate/endorse a student. The letter of endorsement should describe the quality of the nominee’s work and provide the context for the evaluation.

• If a department nominates more than one student, only one letter comparing all the nominees and providing information about their work is required (i.e., we do not need a separate letter for each student).

• In all cases, the nominee’s thesis is required (sent by the nominator or student after nomination). When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example, mmanty.pdf.

Kennedy Memorial Awards - Recognize excellence in writing and scholarship by outstanding students in the junior or senior class.

Eligibility requirements:

John P. Kennedy, an alumnus of the Honors Program, has provided generous gifts to acknowledge and support excellence in writing and scholarship, particularly in poetry and women’s issues. Winners receive a signed certificate and a cash award of $1500. 

Patricia Kennedy Prize: Named in honor of Mr. Kennedy’s mother, this award is given with preference for students working in English literature or women’s issues: any student whose work touches on these fields may be nominated for this award, no matter the major department or gender. 

Dr. John J. Kennedy Prize: Named in honor of Mr. Kennedy’s father, this award is given to acknowledge and support excellence in poetry, creative writing, and scholarship about literature for an outstanding student in the Honors Program.

Application requirements:

• A letter from Department Chair, Associate Chair, or Honors Concentration Director or Advisor describing student’s demonstrated achievements and potential for continued excellence in relevant fields, in course work, research, and thesis is required.

• A letter from student’s thesis advisor supporting the nomination is also welcomed.

• Student’s thesis is required (sent by the nominator or student after nomination). When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example, mmanty.pdf.

Note to nominators: Please note the specific category you have in mind, but if you think a student is eligible for more than one prize, or you’re not sure which one to use, don’t worry: we will transfer nominations to the category we find most appropriate.

Elizabeth Hume O’Donnell Honors Graduation Prize - Recognizes outstanding Honors students majoring in fields related to Neuroscience.

Eligibility requirements:

The Elizabeth Hume O'Donnell Honors Graduation Prize was established by Professor Richard Hume, Academic Program Director of the University of Michigan Neuroscience Program and Chair of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in LSA, in memory of his sister, Elizabeth Hume O'Donnell, who was a student in the LSA Honors Program. These awards are given to outstanding Honors students majoring in fields related to Neuroscience.

Application requirements:

• A letter from Department Chair, Associate Chair, or Honors Concentration Director or Advisor describing student’s demonstrated achievements and potential for continued excellence in the field, in course work, and in research.

• A letter from student’s thesis advisor supporting the nomination is also welcomed.

• Student’s thesis is required (sent by the nominator or student after nomination). When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example, mmanty.pdf.

Goldstein Prize for Honors Seniors - Recognizes outstanding students who are graduating with Honors

Eligibility requirements:

Thanks to a generous gift by the Goldstein family, we have 9 awards of $1500, each in a different field of endeavor named for someone with UM connections who is famous in that field. These prizes are not solely thesis prizes, but recognize overall excellence, or demonstrated potential for excellence, in the various fields of endeavor.

• Robert Hayden Humanities Award
• Marshall Sahlins Social Science Award
• Jerome and Isabella Karle Physical Sciences Award (astronomy, earth sciences, chemistry, physics)
• Stephen Smale Mathematics Award (mathematics, statistics, and computer science)
• Marshall Nirenberg Life Sciences Award (biology, neuroscience, BCN)
• Arthur Miller Creative Arts Award
• Gerald Ford Public Service Award
• Sidney Fine Teaching Award
• Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award

Application requirements:

At least two letters are required:

• One from Department Chair, Associate Chair, or Honors Concentration Director or Advisor addressing student’s achievements and his/her potential for continued excellence, and,

• One from student’s thesis advisor or Honors Math advisor also addressing the above qualities.

• Additional letters from faculty attesting to student’s breadth of achievement are welcomed.

• Student’s thesis is required (sent by the nominator or student after nomination). Nominations of Mathematics students do not require theses. When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example, mmanty.pdf. 

Note to nominators: Please note the specific category you have in mind, but if you think a student is eligible for more than one prize, or you’re not sure which one to use, don’t worry: we will transfer nominations to the category we find most appropriate.

Terrence J. McDonald Prize for Archival Research - Recognizes the "finest thesis making substantial use of archives or museums."

Eligibility requirements:

This award is specifically “for the finest thesis which made substantial use of archives or museums.”  Endowed by Honors alumnus John A. Rapaport, this award may be given to a student in any field of study. The winner will receive a signed certificate and a cash award of $1500.

Application requirements:

• A letter from Department Chair, Associate Chair, or Honors Concentration Director or Advisor describing student’s demonstrated achievements and potential for continued excellence in either or both relevant fields, in course work, research, and thesis is required.

• A letter from student’s thesis advisor supporting the nomination is also welcomed.

• Student’s thesis is required (sent by the nominator or student after nomination). When submitting theses for award consideration, be sure to name the file only 'uniqname.pdf.' For example, mmanty.pdf.

Roger B. Vanko Memorial Scholarship - Recognizes chemistry majors pursuing graduate work in the field.

Named for the late Roger B. Vanko, this award is presented each year to an outstanding Honors student majoring in chemistry who intends to pursue graduate work in that field, as administered by the Department of Chemistry.

Ferrando Prize - Recognizes an outstanding student in economics.

Named for Jonathan and Kathryn Ferrando, this prize is awarded each year to the outstanding graduates in Economics, as determined by the Department of Economics. Mr. Ferrando is a UM Honors Economics graduate.

Honors Alumni Prize - Recognizes sterling service within the Honors program.

Generous donations from Honors alumni fund the Honors Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement. The Honors Program identifies and selects an excellent Honors student who, in addition to significant academic success, has given sterling service to the program, the college, and the university.

Donna Wessel Walker Award - Recognizes Honors Program student mentorship.

To honor Donna Wessel Walker's tireless and meaningful service to Honors students and to the Honors Program over many years, the Honors Alumni Council, with generous support from Honors alumni, established the Donna Wessel Walker Award. The Honors Program identifies and selects an Honors RA, an Honors Peer Mentor, or any Honors student whose involvement with other Honors students and dedication to the goals of the program as a whole, even if in an unofficial capacity, are reflective of Donna's qualities: her personal warmth, her unstinting optimism, her generosity of spirit, and her seemingly limitless supply of encouragement for Honors students in their lives both inside and outside of the classroom. 

H.D. Cameron Prize - Recognizes excellence in Honors teaching.

The Honors Program solicits nominations for outstanding teaching by GSI/LEO instructors who teach Honors Core or Great Books courses. The award is named in honor of Professor H.D. Cameron, whose long tradition of life-changing teaching continues to inspire pedagogical excellence. For more information, contact Lisa Broome (lbroome). 

LSA Honors Chat