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About University Student Awards

Each year, a select group of graduating students are honored with University Student Awards for their achievements in service, scholarship and leadership.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Awards! 

Award Criteria

This award goes to one graduating undergraduate student, who receives $1,000.

The President's Award is the highest award for undergraduate students and is presented to a graduating student whose accomplishments during the course of their undergraduate years are truly exceptional and reflect the highest ideals of American University.

Nominees will have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, integrity, selflessness, leadership, and service to the Washington, D.C., community. They will have contributed significantly to building community and promoting the understanding and acceptance of cultural and racial diversity on the AU campus.

In addition, the nominees must be eligible for Latin Honors:

  • Achievement of a minimum 3.67 cumulative grade point average and a semester GPA of 3.67 (for the most recent completed semester)
  • Completion of at least 60 credit hours required for the degree in residence at American University with no more than 15 credit hours taken pass-fail

This award is named in honor of Provost Emeritus Scott A. Bass to acknowledge his longstanding commitment to and support of academic excellence and high-quality, cutting edge research at the undergraduate level.  It is presented to two graduating undergraduate students, who receive $500 each.

This highly competitive award recognizes the nominee's sustained excellent academic record and exceptional academic success as exemplified by extraordinary publications, research, creative work, merit awards, or competitive selection for presentations at regional and national academic societies and conferences, or participation and recognition at case, brand, or product competitions.

Read about the 2020 award recipients.

This award goes to two graduating master's, MFA, JD, LLM, SJD, or PhD students, who receive $500 each.

This highly competitive award recognizes the nominee's sustained excellent academic record and exceptional academic success as exemplified by extraordinary publications, research, creative work, merit awards, or competitive selection for presentations at regional and national academic societies and conferences, or participation and recognition at case, brand, or product competitions.

Read about the 2020 award recipients.

This award goes to two graduating students (undergraduate, graduate or law), who receive $500 each.

Requires demonstration of unique contributions and sustained service that will leave a lasting impact on the University community, whether through student government, public service, organizational leadership, or a combination of several categories.

Read about the 2020 winners of the Outstanding Service to the University Community Award to find out more!

Eleven students receive Student Achievement Awards, named after significant individuals from AU's history. Each of the recipients, who must be graduating undergraduate students, receive $250. These awards require demonstration of unique contributions as well as service benefiting the American University community. Criteria are very specific; find out more about the awards and their recent recipients to learn more!

Bruce Hughes Award

A senior who has performed outstanding service to the University community and demonstrated unusual depth and maturity in leadership abilities. 

Carlton Savage Award

An international student who has contributed most to increase intercultural understanding at the University.

Catheryn Seckler-Hudson Award

A senior who best exemplifies qualities of character and achievement, while making significant contributions to Student Government.

Charles C. Glover Award

A senior who has best combined citizenship and business leadership in service to the University community.

Charles W. Van Way Award

A student who has contributed the most to building community at the University.

Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Award

A student who has contributed most to the University through the arts, while maintaining a high academic average.

Fletcher Scholar Award

A senior who best exemplifies integrity and selflessness in citizenship on and off campus, together with academic achievement.

Gail Short Hanson Award for Advocacy

A student who has demonstrated principled and informed leadership in advancing a cause, policy or program objective that benefits the campus community or a community beyond the campus. 

Harold Johnson Award

A student who has contributed most to promoting understanding and acceptance of cultural and racial diversity within the University community.

Kinsman-Hurst Award

A senior who has made significant contributions to the University while maintaining a high scholastic record and serving in Student Government or the Student Conduct system.

Stafford H. Cassell Award

A senior who best exemplifies the traits of Stafford Cassell - total, selfless dedication to the University, profound energy, reliability, intellectual curiosity, friendliness, and helpfulness.

 

 

How to Nominate 

When: Nominations for 2022 will open in January, 2022.

How: Fill out the Online Nomination Form (available only while nomination is open).

Who is eligible: Students who graduate in May 2022 or who graduated in August or December, 2021 will be eligible. Of the 18 awards, 14 go to undergraduates, two are limited to graduate students, and two awards are open to both groups.

Who can nominate: Anyone at AU - so students, faculty and staff may all nominate. We also accept and encourage self-nominations. 

What nominators need to include on the form:

  • Basic information (school/college, major and graduation date);
  • Nomination narrative. There is a space provided for the nomination narrative, so be ready to write or copy-and-paste your text into that box. This is where you explain why you're nominating the student for this particular award and makes a case for the nominee. Be intentional and choose the best award. This functions as the nominator's recommendation; the nominator does NOT submit an additional recommendation letter 

Supporting materials: Additional material, such as recommendation letters (up to 3) and a resume, are optional but can strengthen the nomination. They can be uploaded and attached to the nomination form until 5 p.m. on the deadline day. (Both nominator and nominee will get the link in the email notification once the nomination is made. Others can also upload, using the link provided below, when nominations are open.)

How to finalize: At the end of the form, you'll see an option to either "save as draft" or "submit." In both cases, you can return to edit the nomination later. Here's the difference between the two: 

  • "Save as draft" does not trigger an email notifying the student of the nomination. Also, if the nominator does not ultimately finish it and select "submit," it will not be considered.
  • "Submit" notifies the student that a nomination exists, so that they can gather and upload recommendation letters. It also makes the nomination eligible for consideration, even if nothing else is done. However, you can still make changes in it until the deadline, even after you "submit."

How to Upload a Recommendation Letter

Here's where and how to upload a recommendation letter or other supporting materials.

Recommendation letters can be written by faculty, staff, fellow students, or others who know your work or impact. These can be uploaded by the nominator or nominee at any time during the process. When a nomination is submitted, the nominee receive an email that tells them they've been nominated and includes the link to upload recommendation letters. 

Please know that a recommendation letter does NOT create a nomination. It supports an existing nomination. 

Tips for a strong nomination

Choose the most appropriate award. Read carefully. Be intentional. Describe clearly in your nomination or recommendation letter why the student fits the criteria of this specific award. 

If you self-nominate or nominate a friend, please know that recommendation letters are strongly recommended to support the nomination. 

Know how to ask for recommendation letters. Check out our Tips for Recommendation Letters.  

Contacts

For President's Award:
Sarah Evans
Office of the President
(202) 885-2143
president@american.edu

For Outstanding Scholarship:
Sara Biggs
Office of the Provost
(202) 885-2128
sbiggs@american.edu

For Student Achievement Awards and Outstanding Service:
Sally Acharya
Office of Campus Life
campuslife@american.edu

Dayana Sarova presents the conclusions of a year-long research project at the SIS Undergraduate Poster Conference.

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2021 student awardees

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Winners Announced in 2021 University Student Awards

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Past Winners

View past winners of the University Student Awards! These students have demonstrated excellence in service, leadership and academic scholarship.

View Past Recipients