By Tacie Holyoak
WILL SEBERGER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Laura Heise, molecular and cellular biology sophomore, does homework in one of the study rooms at Yuma Residence Hall last night. Heise is a member of the now 40-year-old Honors College.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday April 22, 2003
Today marks the culmination of a year-long celebration of the Honors College's 40th anniversary.
UA's Honors College began in 1962 as a small program that accepted only 75 students in its first year. Since then, the program has grown to include over 4,000 students.
The beginning of a fundraiser to build an endowment for undergraduate honor student support kicks-off today.
"It's a fantastic achievement for the Honors College," said Randy Richardson, vice president of undergraduate admissions, at an Honors luncheon yesterday.
Although it started out small, he said, leaders with a vision took the Honors program to new heights.
The Honors program, which became a college in 1999, now serves to help and challenge the gifted and talented, said Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the college.
Beginning the Honors program was significant, she said, because it is important to recognize that there are different kinds of students.
"It's a great experience to take with you," said Beth Goodhue, an English senior who will graduate in May.
Goodhue said the Honors College has prepared her for graduate school, and for life, because it has exposed her to cutting-edge research and given her more access to faculty members.
With an average of 18 students per honors class, students are able to work more closely with their professors.
"It was nice to meet with professors and not a graduate student or (graduate assistant)," said Nathan Gandomi, an anthropology junior who remembers the benefits of his freshman honors classes.
The lecture classes in the College of Science are huge, said Susan Greenhut, a biochemistry junior. Honors classes give you a chance to break down into smaller groups
"(Honors) has definitely given me an opportunity to find ways to develop a smaller, tighter-knit community in the midst of the larger university community," Goodhue said.
Although many honors students appreciate smaller class sizes and individual access to instructors, budget cuts have recently made them more difficult to find, MacCorquodale said. The cuts, as well as staff shortages have caused many departments to cut previously offered honors classes.
"(It seems hard to) financially justify the need for classes with 15 people," Goodhue said.
Despite the cuts, the college is still committed to expand Honors programs, MacCorquodale said.
In honor of its 40 years of commitment to honors education, the college will serve anniversary cake this afternoon from 3 to 5 on the Slonaker House patio.