History and Missions

Our Mission

Modeling a commitment to liberal arts and cross-disciplinary education, the Honors College celebrates outstanding students and encourages them to strive for a high level of academic excellence.

At the Honors College we:

  • Prepare students to become forces for positive change in the life of the campus and the community through scholarship, co-curricular activities, service, teamwork, and leadership.
  • Motivate students to examine and refine character, become active global citizens, and value life-long learning to prepare leaders for the 21st Century.

Forces for Positive Change

We prepare students to become forces for positive change in the co-curricular life of the campus and the broader community through

  • Scholarship
  • Service
  • Teamwork and
  • Leadership

Honors implies a decision to use the gift of knowledge to be an active problem solver in both the campus community and in the world. To that end, the honors program seeks to build character and foster a commitment to lifelong learning that prepares leaders for the 21stcentury.

Leaders for the 21st Century

We achieve this theme of leadership development through service by providing an exciting environment for academically gifted and highly motivated students to interact in a learning community of peers, faculty, administrators, and staff that will challenge and enrich the students' college experience.

  • A core of nine sequenced courses will familiarize students with defining and addressing challenges facing today's communities.
  • Students will select a minimum of two 300/400-level special topics seminars that rotate each semester.
  • The culminating experience, a three-credit capstone project, provides students with the opportunity to identify, investigate, and address creatively an issue in a community business, nonprofit agency, or research laboratory.
  • Honors is a supplement to, not a substitute for, an academic major. The honors core, plus one additional science or mathematics course, fulfills the University's general education requirements for honors students.

We believe that an honors education should instill in students the desire to be active, contributing members of their societies. Our aim is summarized best in our motto: "To be honorable is to serve."

History of the Honors College

Humble Beginnings

In 1979, the Honors College at West Chester University was built upon the sure foundations of academic excellence, campus engagement and community building through a fostering of peer relationships. Through the dedication and visions of founders and directors, Director Dr. Walter J. Hipple (1979-1991) and Director Dr. Elizabeth Larsen (1991-1995) in addition to the over 100 faculty who have participated in Honors seminars and governance, Honors at West Chester is robust and ever evolving in the service of our students. As we celebrate over 25 years of Honors education, we are so very proud of the over 400 men and women who took the invitation to go beyond the expected.

Aid to South Africa

An amazing partnership was forged in summer 2001 between WCU Honors and the people of South Africa. Led by a team of educators, including then WCU President Madeleine Wing Adler, 27 students from around the State participated in a two week international program that conducted oral histories of current college students and men and women who were on the forefront of change from Apartheid to Democracy. Supported by colleagues at the Universities in the Cape Town and Pretoria regions, local leaders in the Cape Town community and Guguletu Township, students had firsthand "behind the tourist line" opportunities to study nation building.

High Street Home

Being named the Honors College in fall 2006 through an announcement by Provost Linda Lamwers, and moving to a permanent location in January 2007, marked additional milestones for celebration. After years of temporary location the Honors College now has an appropriate home at 703 S. High Street.

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