Honors Program Welcomes Record-Breaking Class

Baldwin Wallace University’s Honors Program, directed by Dr. Amy E. Story, welcomed 75 new students this fall, making this the largest Honors class in the history of the program.  Over the past decade the incoming classes have averaged approximately 40 students.  The previous largest entering class had 55 new students, which further emphasizes the significance of the size of the current class.
“We worked very hard to recruit this class through many face-to-face meetings, phone calls, emails and on-campus events,” Story said.
Last February, the first President’s Day Reception was held for prospective students that were invited into the Honors Program to develop connections and gain a better understanding of what the Honors Program is at BW.  Of the students who attended this event, 59 percent joined BW’s Honors Program.
“I think that we have gotten better in the past year at telling our story to prospective students, showing them what Honors has to offer and why they might want to take on the challenges as well as take advantage of the opportunities that we make available,” Story said.
Recently, the Honors Program held a Pinning Ceremony which recognizes first-year students joining the program.  President Helmer originally suggested that he host a welcome reception for the new students, but a pinning ceremony was chosen instead to help students understand the significance of their decision to join Honors.
“Seniors graduating from Honors have a banquet with us the night before graduation, so this pinning ceremony helps us bracket the Honors experience with recognition both of what it took to get into Honors in the first place and then all that it meant to complete the program,”  Story said.
Many hope that this large Honors class is a sign for the future of the program as it continues to grow and expand its opportunities.
This year a new program called the Honors Symposium Series invites Honors students and their parents to come together to participate in stimulating learning experiences.  This program is led by Dr. Indira Gesink, BW’s History Department Chair, who will be providing a walking tour of BW’s history and founding values.
Leadership through Mentoring is another new program that allows upperclassmen to develop leadership and mentoring skills while working with new students on the Honors Retreat.  These mentors are working with the students doing service work at local organizations such as the Berea Animal Shelter, Boys’ and Girls’ Club and many other organizations off-campus.
The Honors Leadership Board puts on many different programs throughout the year including film viewing, off-campus outings, holiday gatherings, registration assistance and a coat drive.  This group provides an opportunity for members of the Honors Program to continue developing their leadership skills.
Current first-year students still have an opportunity to join the Honors Program this year.
A group of Rising Sophomores is admitted during the spring semester based on faculty recommendations, a review of fall semester grades and expressed interest.  Interested students may contact the Honors Program at honors@bw.edu for consideration.