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CHABSS Academic Honors Celebration

Speaker at a podium during the Academic Honors Celebration
Crowd of guests at the Honors Celebration


What is it?

CHABSS Academic Honors Celebration, held annually in the afternoon of the third Saturday of April in the USU Ballroom, is an invite-only event that recognizes and celebrates graduating students across all CHABSS majors who earned Latin Honors (see Dean's List) as well as students who earned one of the four CHABSS Dean’s Awards.

Typically, graduating students will be informed if they earned Latin Honors by early to mid-March and will receive an email from the CHABSS Dean's Office inviting them to the Academic Honors Celebration.


Band playing in front of the USU Ballroom at the Honors Celebration
Band playing in front of the USU Ballroom at the Honors Celebration


Students are encouraged to bring family and friends (up to four guests per student) to the celebration which begins with a reception at 1 p.m. Light refreshments are served, a jazz band entertains, and photo booths help capture memories of this special day. Also during the reception, a slide show of each awardee scrolls on the big screens.

The official program is 1:30 to 3 p.m. Students and their guests may sit together in their major’s section. After a few words from the CHABSS Dean and guest speaker, the four Dean’s Awardees will be recognized and presented their awards. Next, Latin Honors-earning students will be called to the stage by major to be chorded by some of their major’s faculty.


Slide show screenshot showing a Magna Cum Laude awardee
Guests receiving their food at the Honors Celebration


A photographer will take photos throughout the celebration, and the photos will be posted within a few days for students to view and download their favorites.


What do you do with the gold chord?

The gold chords are to be worn during commencement to recognize a student’s academic achievement. If a student cannot attend the Academic Honors Celebration, they may pick up their chord at the CHABSS Dean’s Office (SBSB 4115) starting the following Monday or they may pick up their chord when they check-in at commencement.


Dean's Award winners at the Honors Celebration
Honors awardee receiving their gold chord


What are Latin Honors?

It is referred to as Latin honors because of the Latin terminology used in the recognition. There are three Latin honors titles associated with graduation. A GPA of at least 3.9 earns the honor of summa cum laude (meaning, with highest honors), a GPA of at least 3.7 and less than 3.9 earns magna cum laude (with high honors), and a GPA of at least 3.5 and less than 3.7 earns cum laude (with honors).

For clarity, because it can be confusing, there is a difference between a CSUSM GPA and a student’s overall GPA. The CSUSM GPA is calculated from only courses taken at CSUSM. The overall GPA includes coursework transferred in from another institution. The university will use the lower of the two GPAs to confer honors, which means that both GPAs must be above a 3.5 to be eligible for honors. For example, if the student’s CSUSM GPA is a 4.0 and their overall GPA is a 3.6, then student is eligible for cum laude (not summa cum laude).


Honors awardee receiving their gold chord
Group photo of gold chord winners