The Honors College Convocation officially welcomed its first class of students on Tuesday, August 31, in the Hendrix Theatre.
Chancellor Steve Ballard and Provost Marilyn Sheerer spoke on the founding of the Honors College. Dr. Patricia Fazzone, recently appointed dean of Honors College, introduced herself and the expectations of this new intellectual community of students, faculty, and staff.
“The Honors College at ECU will cultivate genius and perpetuate global wisdom,” said Fazzone, to the students in the audience. “You will thrive as scholars and emerge as leaders.”
Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Patricia Fazzone, encouraged students to become leaders for change during her presentation in Hendrix Theatre.
During the convocation, students were promised opportunity and encouraged to be great leaders. Dedicated individuals were also recognized for their hand in advancing the program into ECU’s ninth college on a tight budget.
“Our promise of opportunity will prepare you for the 21st century, and we will deliver,” said Ballard.
This fall, 105 freshmen began their experience as honor students in the Honors College. Each student was invited to enroll in the college based on academics and character. During this first year, they will live together with international students in Jones Hall on College Hill. The Mamie Jenkins Building is being remodeled and is scheduled to house Honors College classes in January.
“As the first class, we will be the guinea pigs, but we get to set the foundation, which is really fun and engaging, and I really like that,” said Alex Anders, a student in the Honors College majoring in nutrition dietetics. “It’s going to give us an edge and access to meeting people that will open doors beyond graduation.”
The college offers a unique combination of experiences for an undergraduate program focusing on leadership skills, service activities, and global understanding. These opportunities include service-learning projects, Honors seminars, research assistantships, support of mentors and advisors, study abroad trips, and internships.
“This represents a major investment in the most academically talented students who apply and persist at ECU,” said Associate Dean Kevin Baxter. “It allows us to provide a cutting-edge curriculum that engages the students in their communities, exposes them to research and professional opportunities, and helps train them to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
Fazzone focused her message on service and leadership. She encouraged students to “tap into the human spirit,” honor the voice of others, and serve generously.
At the reception following the convocation, Provost Marilyn Sheerer and Chancellor Steve Ballard spoke with students enrolled in the Honors College in Joyner Library.
“Be an engaged leader; this role is designed for you,” she addressed the group of students. “You have the best minds for this.”
In an effort to increase the enrollment and retention of high-achieving students, university officials decided to transform the Honors program into a prestigious college. The revamped Honors College has competitive scholarships and outreach initiatives and a distinctive curriculum.
Programs like retention-based scholarships, leadership and community activities, and support through a living-learning community within the college will play a key role in retaining this group of students at ECU.
The Honors College hopes to attract top donors and faculty committed to high-achieving students as well.
“We hope the Convocation serves notice to talented students and their families that ECU is ready and excited to welcome them to the Honors College,” said Baxter. “This is the start of something truly exciting at ECU.”