An Afternoon with Honors for Accepted Honors Program Candidates

Villanova’s Candidate’s Days are among my favorite days of the year. The campus is overrun with spirit, enthusiasm, and Villanova pride as students, faculty, and staff endeavor to convey to prospective students and their parents just why we love the school so much. This year, the Honors Program continued its tradition of holding “An Afternoon with Honors” on Friday, February 15th. Over 500 people attended the afternoon to experience the Honors Program for themselves.

Program Director, Dr. Smith, welcomed the attendees and began with a general presentation about Honors. Exploring the question of what Honors at Villanova is all about, he said, “The heart of what happens in Honors is this encounter between the best students at Villanova and the best teachers.” Mentioning the small class sizes and discussion-based seminars, Dr. Smith’s most important point was the strong relationship fostered between students and professors. “Honors is a micro-community within the larger community at Villanova,” he noted.

Dr. Smith ended his speech with a challenge: “The question you’re facing here in terms of your life is not whether you’re going to be successful—you are already successful. The question is how you’re going to use the successes that come your way.” He encouraged the accepted students to choose an education that does not simply train them for career success, but rather, one that sharpens their minds so they can engage in whatever life brings them.

Next, Dr. Catherine Kerrison, professor of History for the Honors Program, talked about her historical research and how she works her passion for history into her classes. Part of her class this semester is a trip to Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson lived, as a supplement to her course, Gender and Race at Monticello. With this added experiential component, “Our study won’t just be academic any more,” she asserted. This is a key element of the Honors Program, educating the whole person and not just memorizing facts.

Finally, Nina Rizk, an Honors junior majoring in Comprehensive Science and Psychology, gave a speech about her experience in the Honors Program. Choosing Honors has been “incredible, enlightening, and extremely beneficial” for Nina. She cited three traits of Honors classes that set them apart from any other class at Villanova: the enthusiastic professors, the talented students, and “the invaluable lessons students are sure to learn both in and out of the classroom.”

After a Q&A, parents remained in the Villanova room to hear presentations by representatives from the Office of International Studies, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and the Career Center. Candidates had the unique opportunity to attend a mock class by an Honors professor, who provided a short reading and then facilitated a discussion amongst the visiting students. Prof. John-Paul Spiro, for example, taught about Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, and then led a discussion using the first lines of the play Henry V. The students were excited and attentive as they sat in their first college class.

An open house on Saturday completed the Honors Program Candidate’s Weekend experience. Overall, the weekend was quite the success, with positive feedback from those who were present. Honors looks forward to future prospective student events, and to welcoming the Honors Class of 2017 in August!

By newsletter Co-Editor, Alexandra Andreassen. Alex is a senior pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and Honors with a Communication minor.

Thrive. Transform. Succeed.

Honors Program Brochure

Click the image to access our latest brochure and learn more about the program.

Contact Us

Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405