Guidelines for Awarding D.F. Forster Medal - Magisteriate and Doctoral

Award Background and Criteria:

The D.F. Forster Medal - Magisteriate and D.F. Forster Medal - Doctoral are the most prestigious graduate convocation awards at the University of Guelph. These medals are awarded annually to one convocating Master’s student and one convocating Doctoral student, who excel both academically and in extra-curricular activities. Named for the late Donald Forster, a former President of the University, the awards recognize academic achievement, motivation, leadership citizenship.


 To be eligible, the student must either have convocated in most recent fall or winter semester or will convocate in the upcoming summer convocation ceremony at which time the medal will be awarded.


A Call for Nominations will be circulated to colleges through the University Secretariat, on behalf of the Senate Honours and Awards Committee, during the winter semester. The Office of Graduate Studies will provide a list of students eligible from fall and winter. College awards committees should be in close communication with departments in anticipating suitable June graduates.
Colleges may nominate a candidate for the medal at both the Master’s and Doctoral level, but are not obligated to do so. Each College’s nominee(s) will be listed in the June convocation program. The Senate Honours and Awards Committee will select the recipient for both the Magisteriate and Doctoral level medals and inform Senate of its decision.

Required Documentation:

  1.  Summary letter from the college describing the candidate. This letter may be from the college Dean, or a designate, and should be from a person having personal knowledge of the candidate.
  2.  Current C.V. for the candidate (including academic awards, research, publications and level of contribution, extra-curricular activities, employment history, etc.)
  3.  Summary of biographical information on the candidate which elaborates on the information provided in the C.V. and provides evidence of motivation, leadership, and citizenship, and includes:

a.      Academic achievement - academic awards, research or publications, etc., (do not provide transcripts, grades or cumulative averages[1]);

b.      Extra-curricular University activities;

c.      Extra-curricular off-campus activities;

d.      Employment history (distinguish between employment that is related to a student's area of study and that which is unrelated, as well as between paid and unpaid work);

e.      Description of candidate – indicate future plans and identify strengths, weaknesses;

f.      Description of candidate’s program - information about nature of the program/major in which the candidate is enrolled, time requirements, special requirements, etc.

The Committee recognizes that candidates in both Doctoral and Master’s programs will experience limitations on the amount of time they are able to devote to extra-curricular activities owing to the demands of thesis-writing and research. In evaluating the candidate’s extra-curricular contribution, the Committee will give a slight preponderance of weight to service to the University community.

4.      A maximum of three (3) letters of reference[2], each no more than two pages in length, that best describes the candidate’s accomplishments and contributions. Scholarship in graduate programs has more dimension than grades, and this should be commented on.

Please note that the decision of the Senate Honours and Awards Committee will be based entirely on the information provided in the documents outlined above. Any information provided orally to the Senate Committee by members from the nominee’s college will be for clarification, in response to questions. A college may request that a candidate submit a letter describing him/herself to the College Awards Committee, however, such a letter is not to be supplied to the Senate Committee.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The University is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and to designing, reviewing, and rebuilding structures – including policies, programs, and practices – that are inclusive, equitable, and accessible to all. In keeping with this commitment, nominations of qualified individuals from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Colour; persons with a disability or who identify as differently abled; persons of all genders, and sexual orientations; and those with a demonstrable track record of confronting oppression and promoting belonging in their organizations and communities are strongly encouraged.

Approval Authority: Senate Honours and Awards Committee
Office of Responsibility: University Secretariat 
Revision Dates: 
April 23, 2024
December 16, 2015

[1] References to specific grades submitted with a nomination will be redacted prior to review by the Committee.

[2]  Only three (3) letters of support will be accepted (in addition to the summary letter referenced in item 1, above).  Surplus letters will be redacted prior to review by the Committee.

File attachments

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