Distinguished Graduate Award


To recognize graduates, in schools sponsored or affiliated with the Sisters of Notre Dame, as being outstanding witnesses to Notre Dame education. The award is usually given to one graduating student, either an eighth grader or a senior.  In co-educational institutions, the option exists to give the award to both a girl and a boy.


Listed are the minimal criteria.  Each school may customize these to fit with the school’s mission and the place this award has among other school awards.

Academic:  Grade point average of 3.0 or the equivalent standard of excellence.

Service:   Witness to God’s goodness and provident care through outreach to those in need, in the school or the community at large.

Practice of Faith:  Regular participation in student’s faith community; strives to live Gospel values in daily life.

In promoting the award, several schools use wording similar to the following:

The Sisters of Notre Dame Distinguished Graduate Award is presented to a student who is an authentic witness to Notre Dame education, marked by academic excellence, witness to God’s goodness and provident care through outreach to those in need in school and/or community, and who strives to live Gospel values in daily life.

The students who receive this award are chosen because:

  • they value their relationship with God and strive to live the Gospel values in their daily lives
  • they have worked to their ability and challenged themselves academically
  • they have distinguished themselves in expressing God’s goodness and provident care for all through service and outreach to others

 These comments from various schools, added to the criteria above, may help shape the criteria for the award and reflect the honor it has in the school:

  • It is the final award given at our graduation ceremony and it carries the greatest honor for the recipient
  • Award also includes “outstanding in their care for others”
  • Most authentic witness to the spirit of the Sisters of Notre Dame—God’s goodness and trust in his provident care
  • Reflects Mary’s spirit—outreach and service
  • Takes the practice of his/her faith seriously; outstanding role model for our faith
  • Involvement in school organizations and activities, both curricular and non-curricular
  • Leadership qualities such as participation in the faith, courage with peers, integrity

A total of 998 medallions have been presented to students since the award’s inception in 1999.


Pictured to the right is the Distinguished Graduate Award Medallion created in 2016. 

It is a gold-toned and dark blue 1 ½” diameter medallion/key ring hung on a dark blue and gold ribbon bearing the inscription “Sisters of Notre Dame” above the Coat of Arms on one side and “Distinguished Graduate Award” encircling the SND logo on the reverse side. Presented in a blue velvet pouch. 


medal - Copy
SND Book (2) (002)
DGA (2)

The names of the award recipients are recorded each year in a book kept in the Motherhouse (international headquarters) of the Sisters in Rome, Italy.  It is placed on the altar dedicated to Sr. Maria Aloysia, the founder of the Coesfeld SNDs and an outstanding educator.  Many Distinguished Graduates have enjoyed visiting the book and they are always welcome to do so.