Answered By: Brad McCormick
Last Updated: May 06, 2021     Views: 8

Latin honors are a special designation used to recognize some graduates' academic accomplishments.  There are three levels of Latin honors, and the levels are based on the graduate's GPA.

The GPA used to determine Latin honors for the graduation ceremony is different from the GPA used to determine Latin honors on the printed diploma and official transcript.

For the graduation ceremony, the GPA used to determine Latin honors is the graduate's GPA using their most recent final grades.  This means that courses in progress (no matter how well the graduate may be doing) do not count toward qualifying a graduate for Latin honors at the ceremony.  The ceremony honors include wearing a specific color of honor cord and having the appropriate Latin phrase read after the graduate's name.

The table below reflects each level of Latin honors, including the qualifying GPA, the Latin phrase, its English translation, and the color of its honor cord.

GPA Range Latin Phrase English Translation Honor Cord Color
3.9 or higher summa cum laude "with highest praise" gold
3.7 to 3.899 magna cum laude "with great praise" blue
3.5 to 3.699 cum laude "with praise" orange


For the printed diploma and official transcript, the final GPA is used to determine the Latin honors to be printed onto the diploma and transcript.  The Latin honors printed on the diploma and transcript may not match (and very often do not match) the Latin honors used at the ceremony.  The graduate's final grades often will push their GPA up to a higher level of Latin honors or down to a lower level, and that final level will be reflected on the printed diploma and transcript.

Honor cords are distributed based on the GPA used for the graduation ceremony.  The College does not distribute new or updated honor cords based on a change in a graduate's Latin honors category after final grades are posted.

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