Reception Recognizes College’s First Honors Program Graduates
For the first time in the college’s 120-year history, a group of graduating students walked across the stage at Commencement, received diplomas from Dr. Warrick L. Carter, and graduated from Columbia College Chicago with an official Honors designation, marking their having completed an honors program of study within the LAS Core Curriculum.
The eight students who graduated with Honors this Spring represent the first cohort to complete the college’s Honors Program. The students were Jenna Domeischel (Art History); Deb Durham (Creative Writing – Nonfiction); Brian Gray (Journalism); Noah Kloor (Film and Video); Courtney Muller (Fiction Writing); Ashley Muir (Fiction Writing); David Orlikoff (Interdisciplinary: Journalism/Film and Video); and Samantha Uliano (Fiction Writing).
The Honors Program began in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Spring of 2010. Offering Honors courses to a targeted, specific population of students who excel in their coursework, the program has grown to roughly twenty Honors courses per semester, serving hundreds of Columbia’s high-achieving, undergraduate students in the LAS Core. To complete the program and graduate with Honors, students must complete fifteen credit hours and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. Since it began two years ago, students have taken Honors courses such as "Evolution of Sex," "Letters from the American Past," and "Taste and Consumption in French History," among many others.
“The Honors Program was great,” said Uliano, who attended a reception on April 19 honoring her and the seven other Honors Program graduates. Uliano noted that her favorite Honors course was “Victorian Illustrated Poetry,” taught by Dr. Ken Daley, Chair of the Department of English. “I wish there had been more Honors classes,” she said, in addition to the required minimum of fifteen credit hours. Durham, who also attended the Honors reception, echoed Uliano’s sentiments about the program. “The level of enthusiasm my classmates had made the Honors Program enjoyable,” she said.
“We are very pleased that as many as eight students were able to complete the requirements for the Honors Program in such a short amount of time, which in essence has only been four semesters,” said Neil Pagano, Associate Dean in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Director of the Honors Program. “Looking forward, we expect this number to increase significantly, as over the last two fall semesters we have seen approximately 180 incoming freshman who were invited to join the Honors Program.”
The April 19 reception honoring the first cohort of Honors Program graduates took place in the Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash Ave. In addition to the graduates, guests at the reception included faculty members in LAS who have taught Honors courses; Dean Deborah H. Holdstein and her staff; Mark Kelly, Vice President of Student Affairs and a long-time, staunch supporter of an Honors Program at Columbia; family members of Honors graduates; and Keith Cleveland, former Assistant Dean for Faculty Advising and LAS Initiatives and Founding Director of the Honors Program.
“There’s no question it was a pleasure to see the first graduates of the Honors Program at the reception,” said Cleveland, who retired in August of 2011 after more than thirty years at Columbia. “I continue to believe that the Honors Program is important for Columbia, and it is my earnest wish that the program continues to grow and prosper.”
From left: Noah Kloor, Deb Durham, Samantha Uliano, David Orlikoff, and Dean Deborah H. Holdstein. Photo by Brent Lewis (BA '12).