‘Virgina’? Radford University’s Diplomas Misspell ‘Virginia’

By Suzan Clarke

Jun 26, 2013 7:00am

Meghan McNeice graduated from Radford University in Virginia in May, and she was excited when she got her diploma in the mail on Saturday.

But the 21-year-old media studies major from Richmond, Va., soon heard chatter on Twitter that there was a spelling error on some graduates’ diplomas, so she looked at hers again.

Sure enough, the freelance reporter’s diploma had the word “Virginia” spelled incorrectly. In one of two instances of the word on the document, the final “i” is omitted, leaving the word spelled “Virgina.”

McNeice missed the error the first time she looked at her diploma because, she said, “I was just looking at it as a graduate, I was excited. I wasn’t, like, going through copy editing.”

In fact, the university remained unaware of the error until Tuesday morning, when a graduate notified officials.

In total, 1,481 undergraduate and graduate diplomas from fall 2012 and spring 2013 were misspelled, according to Joe Carpenter, Radford’s chief communications officer.

In a statement, Carpenter told ABCNews.com that the diplomas actually had two spelling errors on them. In addition to “Virginia” being misspelled “Virgina,” the word “thereto” was spelled “therto.”

“The error was caused when the commercial software system used to produce the diplomas within the university’s registrar’s office was upgraded in the fall of 2012. That software upgrade required that the diploma narrative be re-keyed into the program. It was during the re-keying process that the typographical errors were introduced into the template,” he said.

“Radford University regrets any inconvenience this error may have caused our alumni and will be working to correct these errors in a timely manner,” he added.

McNeice said the university promised her she’d have a corrected diploma within the next two weeks, and she planned to keep the misspelled one “for laughs.”

She said the reaction among her Radford peers has ranged from disappointment in the university to amusement over the typos.

“I’m just glad that they’re going to reprint them, because it does in a way look bad on the university and I would never hope that they get a reputation from this because they are fixing their mistake,” she said.

She stressed that the error was in no way representative of the quality of the education she received at the institution.

“I think I got the best education ever. I wouldn’t go to another school in Virginia for a journalism or communications degree,” she said.

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