Northwestern issues new diplomas for some Medill students due to spelling error

Rebecca Savransky, Summer Editor

Northwestern is reissuing new diplomas to about 30 Medill students due to a spelling error present in the original documents.

The word integrated was misspelled in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications on about 30 of the more than 250 diplomas issued Saturday morning to students in Medill’s graduating class of 2014, Medill Prof. Desiree Hanford said in an email Monday.

All of the students whose diplomas had errors were notified and a new copy of the diploma will be mailed directly from the vendor Tuesday to each student who had a problem with their documents, University registrar Jaci Casazza said. The errors occurred on honors diplomas, she said.

The registrar’s office has worked with the vendor to expedite the printing of the new diplomas, Casazza said.

Casazza said there are several reasons why this error may have occurred including that NU calculates honors in terms of percentages rather than according to a specific GPA and includes Spring Quarter grades in its calculations.

“Northwestern is one of a very small number of schools that actually gives diplomas out at graduation,” she said. “The turnaround time is unbelievably fast.”

She said the error may have also partially stemmed from template confusion with the vendor.

“We were under the impression that the vendor that we used, used a template for the school name,” she said.

She added that every year, the registrar catches errors in diplomas prior to their release and most of the time, they are fixed before students receive them.

Hanford said in an email Monday that the diplomas are issued by the University and she has been working with the registrar’s office to provide new diplomas.

The incident gained coverage on several news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune and USA Today, and multiple students posted pictures of their misspelled diploma on various forms of social media.

Medill students were upset by the mistake partially due to the use of the “Medill F,” which is when a student receives an “F” on an assignment due to a factual error, such as the misspelling of a proper noun. Several students mentioned the Medill F in posts on social media regarding the error.

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