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What’s In A Named: Honors Program Becomes Honors College


The University of Utah’s Board of Trustees recently granted final approval to create the Honors College, renaming the Honors Program to capture the importance and distinction of the program and to propel it to greater prominence.

It may seem small, but the name change means a lot to the Honors College. Its rigorous curriculum and comprehensive features have long exceeded many of the standards set by the National Collegiate Honors Council, the governing body for honors programs and colleges nationwide. A prestigious centerpiece of undergraduate education at the U since 1961, the Honors College will now be more competitive with other selective national honors colleges at peer institutions such as the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Pittsburg, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, among others.

“The name ’Honors College’ speaks for itself,” says University of Utah President Michael K. Young. “It elevates our extraordinary Honors Program to national preeminence, where it truly belongs, and demonstrates our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education.”

The name change will benefit student recruitment and retention, development success, alumni participation and graduate school placement. On the institutional level, becoming a college equates recognition as an academic unit of distinction charged to insure quality in a particular discipline. The designation of ‘college’ connotes a particular size and complexity of the program, the relative prestige it holds in the context of its university structure and the recognition of the importance of its mission to the university as a whole.

“The Honors Program is one of the crown jewels of our undergraduate program and it is appropriate that it receive this recognition,” says David Pershing, senior vice president for academic affairs at the U. “The Honors College provides students with a small college experience while retaining the advantages of attending a major research university with world renowned scholars.”

Unlike other colleges within the U, the Honors College will not produce its own degrees, but will continue to graduate honors students with honors degrees in the context of their majors. Honors students must maintain a 3.5 GPA, take seven specific honors courses and complete an honors thesis and presentation at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

“These culminating experiences position students for graduate school and propel them toward the accomplishment of their academic goals,” says honors director Martha Bradley. The Honors College includes honors tracks in 15 different departments and, in some colleges such as the College of Engineering and Science, in every department.

President Michael K. Young will announce the name change at a private reception at the Rosenblatt House on Thursday, September 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.


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