Boesel Gift Boosts Honors Program

March 17, 2014

The Honors Program, under the direction of Amy Story, Ph.D., has continued to grow in size and visibility. The largest group on record of first-year students began the program this fall and more than 170 students are in the program, up from 126 a year ago.

"The Honors Program is key to enrolling and retaining top students from across the nation and overseas," said BW President Robert Helmer. "Our goal is to have it become a program of distinction that will raise the reputation of the entire University."

"Steve and Jackie's gift is a tribute to their ongoing generosity to the University as well as their belief in the great work already being done to elevate the Honors Program. Their support will benefit today's students as well as create an endowment that will assist Honors students and initiatives for generations to come."

"We stand poised to make another leap forward," said Story. "We've identified three areas that will benefit from this wonderful gift–fall honors retreat, experiential learning for students, and innovative coursework through faculty development."

Honors Retreat: signature event

The fall retreat offers incoming Honors students an opportunity to bond, discuss shared reading material, and engage in dynamic camp experiences like rock climbing, ropes courses, canoeing, and more.

"While these diverse activities might sound a little distant from daily life as a college student, we believe they enable students to stretch their boundaries by trying something unfamiliar and learning to trust and communicate with new people," explained Story.

"The retreat is one of the most successful and high-impact experiences we offer our students," she continued. "It embodies the core values of BW and Honors in terms of cultivating the development of the whole student."

Fostering experiential opportunities

A key component of a BW education is experiential learning. Opportunities like attending a professional conference to present student-directed research, participating in a study abroad or alternative break program, or doing other hands-on initiative make learning dynamic. For Honors students, experiential activities are of added scholarly importance.

"In today's highly competitive market for employment and graduate schools, students need experiential opportunities for growth and resume development," said Story. "But students can be limited in their ability to access these opportunities due to financial constraints."

Making Honors "cutting edge"

Innovative courses at the forefront of education are another benchmark for the program. "Professional development is an investment," emphasized Story. "It is our goal to create new and innovative courses that will help students advance their critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills."

"All of these initiatives–retreat, experiential learning and cutting-edge courses–are just the start. 
We have a robust series of goals we believe will leverage BW's ability to attract high-achieving students," she added. "And thanks to support, such as this inspiring gift from Steve and Jackie Boesel, we are well on our way to becoming a program of distinction."