Lack of senior participation in Walker Cup nomination process

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The Walker Cup celebrates the most distinguished DePauw senior, yet around only 25 percent of the senior class participated in the University’s nomination process.

“They [seniors] have historically had a relatively small window of time to nominate folks,” Director of Campus Living, Wendy Wippich said.

On March 8, the senior class received an email from the Dean of Students Myrna Hernandez asking students to nominate their peers for the award.

In an email to the seniors, Hernandez wrote:  “As a member of the Class of 2017, you are invited to nominate two members of your class who you deem most worthy of receiving this award. The names and university records of the three seniors who receive the most nominations will be forwarded to Academic Department Chairs, who make their recommendations to the University President, who makes the final selection.”

The deadline to nominate seniors for the award was March 13, at 12 p.m.. As a result, the senior class had less than a week to nominate individuals that they “judged to have contributed the most to the University during his or her four-year collegiate career.”  

Seniors cast their nominations through a Google form, which was embedded into the email, and were directed to contact Wippich with any questions about the process.

Vice President of DePauw Student Government, Charles Douglas, was not surprised seniors did not nominate their peers.

“People don’t pay attention to their emails, so it might not be the most efficient way to run the nomination process,” Douglas said.

Senior, Payton Dunning missed his opportunity to nominate an individual for the award.  “I didn’t nominate anyone, but for no particular reason,” Dunning said.

The Walker Cup has been awarded to a deserving senior since 1927 after Guy Morrison Walker, lawyer and reorganization expert, made provision for the Walker Cup to be presented annually to the member of the senior class who had contributed the most to DePauw during his or her college career.

In the October 18, 1926 issue of The DePauw, an article titled, “Walker Gift To Provide Annual Cup for Senior,” featured Walker’s letter accompanying his gift to the University.

“The best traditions are preserved in making this award a cup rather than a cash                  prize, and I hope that in time it will come to be regarded as the greatest honor of the college course to be the recipient upon graduation of the Walker Cup.

If the students themselves will conscientiously exercise the responsibility put upon them of selecting that fellow student who through his or her college course has by good scholarship, good conduct and conscientious effort in college life and intercollegiate activities lived up to the best of DePauw traditions, and done the most to advance the fame and interest of Old DePauw, there will be no doubt about the character of the honor that will go with the awarding of the cup.’”

The individual who wins the Walker Cup not only gets their name inscribed on a trophy plaque but also has the privilege of addressing their senior class at commencement. This year seniors up for the award include Perrin Duncan, Sarah Fears, and Claire Halffield.

 “This year we are seeing three really strong women who have had a lot of connection and involvement not only with student government but a lot of other important programmatic endeavors and educational endeavors on our campus,” Wippich said.

Out of 82 winners, only 24 women have been awarded the Walker Cup since 1927. However, the Walker Cup was ‘discontinued’ between 1970 to 1977.

Historically, there are three Walker Cup finalists every year but Wippich confirmed that in previous years there have been four finalists when a tie is recorded.

“The Walker Cup is the single biggest student award we give at DePauw,” President Mark McCoy said. “Thee two things that amaze me the most about it [The Walker Cup] one, the achievement of the past winners, and two, the that fact that in any given year there are 20 worthy people.”  

The Walker Cup will be awarded by President McCoy on April 24.