Each year the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies selects up to 15 graduate students from across the university to receive the Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Award. Students are recognized for exemplary accomplishments in one of two categories: Excellence in Research and Excellence in Teaching. Applicants are nominated by their faculty advisors and department and must meet strenuous eligibility requirements. Nominees for excellence in teaching, must perform exceptionally in their own academic venture while also providing an innovative exceptional learning experience for their students. This award highlights outstanding academic record and contributions in teaching. Recipients of this award receive a framed certificate and engraved watch.