Students, staff and faculty gathered on Thursday, Aug. 26 to celebrate the official installment of Miami University’s new Honors College.
The Honors College is a program meant to give extra resources to high-achieving students during their time at Miami. Replacing the Honors Program, the Honors College aims to help students within the program succeed through grant money, enhanced research opportunities and honors-only classes.
The gathering was supposed to be held outside on Western campus, but it was forced to relocate to the Leonard Theatre in Peabody Hall due to rain. The gathering had many speakers who were intimately involved in the project and featured a ribbon cutting ceremony done by President Gregory Crawford.
When speaking about the Honors College, Crawford said the program was designed to attract ambitious students to the university.
“We love those students that come here and want to write their first novel; or do their first publication; or start their first company; or compose their first music piece or play; we want them here,” Crawford said.
Provost Jason Osborne also spoke at the event. He said the Honors College would give the potential of a life-changing opportunity and related it to his experience at the University of Rochester.
“I would not be here today had I not [done research with a psychology professor],” Osborne said, “so I celebrate the fact that this Honors College is designed to do those transformational experiences and take students who may not know that they have this scholarly or this professional bent and to help them make an impact.”
Osborne also echoed Crawford’s statements about the Honors College being a place for leaders and visionaries of the future.
“I hope each one of you, each one of our students now and in the future, has one of those transformational experiences …,”Osborne said, “and that you leave and make a mark on the world in a way that will make us proud.”
The list of speakers also included Celine Thormann, a senior majoring in Spanish and biology and the president of the Honors Student Advisory Board. She spoke in more detail about the benefits future students would gain from the program.
“I'm so excited for all students, both current and future,” she said. “Honors students get to enjoy more access to faculty and staff, and those relationships will help guide them through their time in college.”
Thormann also said the Honors College would provide new opportunities for meeting diverse peers and learning about different cultures.
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“Most importantly, honors students will become part of one of the most inclusive communities I have found here at Miami because honors students come from all majors and backgrounds,” Thormann said. “They have a wide variety of interests; they get to learn from their peers and expand their horizons, which is something that I've greatly appreciated during my years at Miami.”
Zeb Baker, director of the Honors College, also spoke at the event. He thanked many people for helping the Honors College come to fruition and later reflected on how the effort was able to be accomplished on time despite several setbacks.
“A whole lot of people worked on this,” Baker said. “We were able to [create the program] in spite of COVID, in spite of all the obstacles that came up because of that. The exciting part for me today was to celebrate the collective effort of faculty staff and students to launch the Honors College.”