Skip to main content

Students

Prizes and Awards

Outstanding students in the College are recognized in a variety of ways each year, many of them receiving special prizes. Most of those authorized by the College have specific academic criteria, but others are awarded to students who have served the University community in special ways. Some decisions are made within departments, while other interdepartmental prizes are decided within the dean’s office after nominations are received. Most prizes are endowed, and students receive cash awards, often at commencement.

The College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) is responsible for coordinating both College and departmental prizes; the Hajim School’s dean’s office coordinates its own prizes. Both work with the Office of the Dean of Students in the recognition of students.

An annual Senior Awards Ceremony is held during Commencement Weekend. The Singer Family Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching is awarded, and seniors are recognized for various accomplishments, including:

  • National fellowships and awards
  • Major academic prizes in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering*
  • Major prizes in student life
  • Major athletic department awards

*Senior Awards Ceremony includes these College prizes: Ayman Amin-Salem, Janet Howell Clark, Wendy J. Fread, Irene B. Steinbock, and Joseph O’Connor.

College Prizes and Awards

Ayman Amin-Salem Memorial Award

The Ayman Amin-Salem Memorial Award is presented each year to that member or those members of the senior class who best evidences the quality of good character and good citizenship, such as decency, reliability, responsibility, and congeniality.  Preference may be given to students who have an interest in biology or the biological sciences, music, art, writing or athletics.   

For more information see the chemistry and English award pages.

Catherine Block Memorial Prize

The Catherine Block Memorial Prize is awarded to the junior woman in any field of science in recognition of outstanding ability and achievement.   

For more information see the chemistry and physics and astronomy award pages.  

Irene Bush Steinbock Award

The Irene Bush Steinbock Award is awarded annually to a senior graduate in the School of Arts and Sciences who has made the most noteworthy contribution to human relations. 

For more information see the chemistry and English award pages.

Irene Grace Bunde Award

The Irene Grace Bunde Award is available annually to the woman whose original expository or persuasive speech exhibits the highest excellence in content, organization, style and delivery.  A matriculated full-time junior or senior who has successfully completed or is completing the requirements for a baccalaureate degree.

For more information see the English award page.

Wendy Jill Fread Prize

The Wendy Jill Fread Prize is presented annually to the member of the senior class who, during four years as a student, has given the greatest service and shown the greatest concern for fellow students.

Joseph O’Connor Graduate Study Endowment Prize

The Joseph O’Connor Graduate Study Endowment Prize is presented to a woman in the senior class who has shown marked ability in English literature, in classical languages and Literature or in Archeology.

For more information see the English award page.

Janet Howell Clark Prize

The Janet Howell Clark Prize is presented to a woman in the senior class who has shown the greatest promise in creative work in physics, chemistry, biology, or astronomy and who has shown outstanding versatility in the mastery of allied fields. 

For more information see the chemistry and physics and astronomy award pages.  

Helen S. Jones Memorial Prize

The Helen S. Jones Memorial Prize is given to students in recognition of accomplishment or special ability in the areas of Sociology and/or Government. 

For more information see the political science award page.

Doris Ermine Smith Prize

The Doris Ermine Smith Prize is given to a woman majoring in either French or Mathematics. For more information see the modern languages and cultures award page.

John R. Slater Prize

The John R. Slater Prize is awarded to those members of the graduating class who have throughout their undergraduate careers shown the most competence in the use of the English language as exemplified by excellence in composition, in public speaking, in work on University publications, in participation in student government or otherwise.

For more information see the English award page.

Departmental Prizes: Before Graduation

These prizes are submitted to CCAS and are awarded prior to graduation.

Department of Mathematics:

  • Stoddard Prize in Math: This prize will be awarded annually to two students who have completed the prescribed second year course in mathematics.
  • Arthur Gale Award: Awarded annually to the student receiving a bachelor's degree in mathematics who, in the judgment of the Department of Mathematics faculty, has displayed the greatest achievement and promise in the field.

Public Health-Related Programs:

  • Holly Atkinson Undergraduate Prize: This prize is to be awarded to an undergraduate student majoring in a public health-related area who best exemplifies advocacy in the public health arena.

Department of Art and Art History:

  • Elizabeth M. Anderson Prize: Awarded to the senior who shows the highest proficiency in some subject connected with art.

Department of Biology:

  • Rigby Wile: For proficiency in work in Course I in the Department of Biology. Awarded to members of the freshman or sophomore class.

Department of Political Science:

  • Jay Birdsall Prize: Awarded to the graduating senior in political science who has demonstrated an interest and commitment in practical politics.
  • James McGill Prize: Awarded to that undergraduate who has show the greatest interest and demonstrated the highest achievement in the field of political science.
  • Laura Taylor Frisina: For the graduating senior, who, as a political science research assistant or in other research activities, best represents creativity and collaboration in pursuit of knowledge.

Department of Modern Languages and Cultures:

  • Neil D. Arvin Prize: Awarded to the senior who has excelled in French during his undergraduate course.
  • Kreyer Prize: Awarded for facility in spoken German.

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences:

  • Lattimore: Awarded to an undergraduate majoring in geology. Prize to be used to cover summer field study expenses.

Department of Religion and Classics:

  • Tuttle: Awarded to the male student for proficiency in the study of Greek (if no male student is qualified, a female student may be considered).

Department of Physics and Astronomy:

  • Stoddard Prize in Physics: Awarded to a senior class member who presents the best thesis or term paper on an assigned topic of investigation in Physics.

Departmental Prizes: After Graduation

These prizes are submitted to CCAS and are awarded after graduation.

Department of English:

  • Dean’s prizes:
    • Poetry: The School of Arts and Sciences awards prizes annually in competition for the best undergraduate poetry. The Department of English administers the competitions for all undergraduates of the University.
    • Short Fiction: The School of Arts and Sciences awards prizes annually in competition for the best undergraduate short fiction. The Department of English administers the competitions for all undergraduates of the University.
    • Drama: The School of Arts and Sciences awards prizes annually in competition for the best undergraduate drama. The Department of English administers the competitions for all undergraduates of the University.
  • Charles Ellis Caldwell: Awarded to one or more students in the senior class who have shown the greatest proficiency in the Department of English.
  • Pearl Sperling Evans: Woman who shows the greatest promise in creative writing.
  • Davis/Dewey Speech: Awarded to the two students whose original orations exhibit respectively the first and second grades of excellence in thought, composition and delivery combined.
  • Hull: Awarded to the man in the senior class concentrating in English who has done the best work in English studies.
  • Schimmel: Awarded annually to an undergraduate submitting the best critical essay in English.
  • Williams Memorial: Awarded to the woman in the senior class concentrating in English who has done the best work in that department.

Department of Economics: 

  • Hastings: Awarded for the best essay or thesis on some topic on the history of industry.
  • Mairs: Awarded to the member of the junior class who has done the best work in the concentration of economics.
  • Greene: Awarded annually to the student majoring in economics or in the field of management whose record and activities reflect those qualities of mind and character which offer the greatest promise of success in the field of law, economics, accounting and/or finance.
  • Kaplan: Awarded to the PhD candidate who, having completed two years of full-time graduate study in the Department of Economics at the University of Rochester, has given evidence of excellent scholarship through his or her performance in graduate economics courses.
  • Rapoport: Awarded to a junior majoring in economics. The prize will recognize
    general excellence.

Department of History:

  • B. Ellison: Awarded to that member of the senior class concentrating in history who has done the best work in that department.
  • Hugh MacKenzie: Awarded each year to the first-year woman who has shown the highest achievement and interest in a history course, and to the first-year woman who has shown the greatest improvement in a history course.

Awarded in October/November

The following prizes are award in the fall:

  • Jesse L. Rosenberger Prize: This prize is awarded to the man in the junior class whose work has shown the greatest improvement during the freshman and sophomore years.
  • Susan C. Rosenberger Prize: This prize is awarded to the woman in the junior class whose work has shown the greatest improvement during the freshman and sophomore years.

Nominations

CCAS emails out candidate nominations annually every February. Nominations are due around the middle to third week of March. Nominations should be done through our online nomination form.

Please note: If you are not listed in our prizes database and would like to nominate a student(s), please email your NetID to the prizes email account at prizes@ur.rochester.edu.

Questions

Please refer any questions to the prizes administrator, Vicki Mullen at vmullen@ur.rochester.edu or to the prizes coordinator, Angela Buchiere at angela.buchiere@rochester.edu.