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BU Honors Scarlet Key Recipients

Award recognizes student leadership, scholarship


Paul Renolis (SAR’11) (from left), Krystyn “KMac” McIntyre (SAR’11), and Matthew Cobb (CAS’11) are among the 83 seniors being inducted into BU's Scarlet Key Society this year.

Scarlet Key recipients are Boston University’s masters of multitasking and doing good. These are the seniors who are in everything at once—athletics, student government, Greek life, University clubs, and the Community Service Center—and still manage to pull good grades.

“Students who have received the Scarlet Key know that the work they did outside of the classroom was recognized and appreciated,” says Katherine Hasenauer Cornetta, assistant to the dean of students. “They’ve touched the lives of their classmates—and future classes they may never meet—in a positive way.”

Tonight, 83 seniors and 2 BU community members will be inducted into BU’s Scarlet Key Society in the George Sherman Union’s Metcalf Ballroom at 6 p.m. They will join more than 1,500 Scarlet Key alumni who have received the lapel pin, which carries an image of a scarlet key and the BU crest.

The Scarlet Key Society was established in 1938 by the General Alumni Association (now the Boston University Alumni Association) as an activities honor society that recognized mostly juniors. In 2004, the dean of students assumed responsibility for the award, which is presented to graduating seniors “who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in student activities and organizations, service to their school or college, and scholarship.”

Faculty, staff, and alumni send nominations for the Scarlet Key to the Dean of Students Office, which checks candidates’ GPAs and Judicial Affairs records. Students must then submit an application, a résumé, and a list of their extracurricular activities. The office received 122 nominations this year and will award the Scarlet Key to a record-breaking 83 seniors. (There were 67 recipients last year.)

“It’s a testament to how strong student life is on campus right now,” Cornetta says. “We can’t not recognize them.”

Take Krystyn McIntyre. KMac, as she’s known around Cornetta’s office, is a Terrier women’s basketball guard, president of the Student Athletic Advisory Council, an active member of several clubs, and an employee of the Student Affairs Office.

McIntyre will pursue a master’s degree in college student development and counseling at Northeastern University in the fall, but will work after graduation in BU’s summer camps.

“They just really can’t keep me away,” says McIntyre (SAR’11).

Matthew Cobb was nominated for the Scarlet Key by seven people. Cobb is a South Campus resident assistant, is president of BU On Broadway, helped run several admissions programs, and was an Alternative Spring Break coordinator.

“The four years I spent here really meant something to not only me, but also to other people,” says Cobb (CAS’11), who is a summer term program coordinator and plans to earn a master’s in higher education at BU.

And Paul Renolis has an equally packed schedule. He manages the Community Service Center’s Making Music program, is a South Campus resident assistant, and has worked extensively with BU Orientation. His time at BU has inspired him to get a master’s in education.

“It doesn’t stop when we graduate,” says Renolis (SAR’11). “We’re selected because we’re active leaders of change.”
v_SisterOlga“I’m really proud of the work that student volunteers have done over the last couple of decades at BU,” says McMahon (below), who founded McMahon Solutions LLC, a consulting practice for nonprofit organizations. “Receiving the award I think is a recognition of that work and the impact students have had in the Boston area, as well as around the world, through service.”BU is also awarding honorary Scarlet Keys to Catholic chaplain Olga Yaqob (left), who is leaving the University to start a new order of nuns, and to Stephen McMahon (CAS’89, SSW’92), founder of the Community Service Center, Alternative Spring Break, and the First Year Student Outreach Project—programs many Scarlet Key recipients know and love.


Scarlet Key recipients pass through three stations during the induction ceremony. First, they are tapped by a society alum with a sword “in a knighting way,” Cornetta says. They then sign the society’s book—the same one every recipient has signed since the tradition began. Finally, they receive a certificate and the Scarlet Key pin.

The Leila Saad Award, which honors the “most scarlet of the Scarlet Key” recipients with a $1,000 prize, will be announced at the end of the ceremony.

The Scarlet Key Society ceremony is tonight, May 19, at 6 p.m. in the GSU’s Metcalf Ballroom, 775 Commonwealth Ave.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.


One Comment on BU Honors Scarlet Key Recipients

  • Justin on 05.19.2011 at 8:51 am

    Mr. McMahon

    Stephe McMahon is a man with great honor and strength. I’m amazed at how driven he is each day to go out and serve people all around the country. His busy schedule would be too much for me, but he just dives in and goes! Very inspiring man. Congrats!

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