Libraries offering $1,250 award for 2021 outstanding undergraduate thesis

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, April  6

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries invites submissions for the 10th annual competition for the outstanding undergraduate thesis, now endowed and named the Robert F. Guentter Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award. The University-wide competition aims to find the best research by a Penn State undergraduate student in consultation with his or her adviser. The Guentter Award winner will receive $1,250. Finalist awards of $750 and $500 will be presented to the second- and third-place recipients, respectively. 

Students from all Penn State campuses who have graduated in summer or fall 2020 or plan to graduate in spring 2021 are eligible for the 2021 award. The competition includes a review of submitted theses by a faculty jury and oral presentations by the students chosen as finalists.

Through this award, the University Libraries emphasizes the importance of utilizing quality research methods and employing a thorough understanding of the legal and ethical issues related to the use of information, key components of academic excellence. Successful past projects submitted for the competition have demonstrated excellence in the research process of locating, evaluating and utilizing appropriate scholarly resources.

Students must submit an online application, have a statement of support submitted by a Penn State faculty member, and provide a copy of their final thesis.

Deadlines for the 2021 award include:

  • Now: Students should discuss the award and thesis requirement with their faculty adviser.
  • Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 6. Students should submit a copy of their final thesis, the online Student Thesis Application and the Faculty Statement of Support.
  • Friday, April 30: Three finalists will be notified.
  • Thursday, May 6: Public oral presentations by finalists will be held in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Details, including submission forms and application criteria, are available on the Libraries’ Robert F. Guentter Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award webpage.

In supporting the top prize, Guentter, who graduated in 1982 from the Smeal College of Business and received his master of public administration degree in 1983, said, “Penn State played a formative role in my life, and giving back, even in this small way, is very rewarding. Someone awarded a scholarship to me for my Penn State graduate work, and I never got to say ‘Thank You.’ This modest effort is my heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to them.”

The Robert F. Guentter Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award is a partnership between the University Libraries and the Schreyer Honors College.

For more information, contact Wendi Keeler at or 814-863-5449.

Last Updated January 28, 2021