Photography by Gorbachev Lingad '10
The Honors Program is now in its second year at Saint Mary’s, with about 30 sophomores and 60 freshmen who will study and, in many cases, live in the same residence halls throughout their undergraduate years.
Honors students have opportunities to receive scholarships, earn honors course credit, contribute to scholarly research and creative projects under faculty direction and develop leadership skills.
Honors students also have positive interaction with other students, says chemistry professor Jeff Sigman.
“The honors students are a benefit to all the students in a class,” he says. “They raise the level of the discussion in the class and are often study group leaders outside of class.”
Students must qualify by having a high school GPA of at least 3.7, SAT scores of 1,200 or more (English and math) or ACT scores of 27 or more. Eligible students include those who are Presidential Scholars or receive honors at entrance.
Many freshman honors students live in Assumption Hall, which also houses a science living community.
There, they have faculty mentors and tutors, and not only study together but also socialize and prepare special meals, including organic Thanksgiving feasts.
“In the honors program I found the community and academic support I was looking for,” says sophomore Kelcy Sato.
Program director Mary Volmer ’01 MFA ’05 says honors students thrive in their shared commitment to academics and service.
“Saint Mary’s honors students understand that a Lasallian education is not about competing for grades, but about contributing to and benefiting from a larger academic community,” she says. “They understand that neither personal potential nor a true respect for human difference can be reached in the absence of shared experience.”