SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The next freshman class will not set foot on the Wittenberg University campus until August, but already a record number of incoming students have gone through a unique process to become part of the university’s prestigious Honors Program.
The University Honors Program was created in 1978 to enhance the rich variety of intellectual experiences possible in a liberal arts education. The program, which provides an optimal academic and social climate for students of high academic potential, has grown exponentially in recent years and in 2005, the incoming freshmen class includes nearly 70 potential members, a phenomenal jump from 10 incoming Honors Program students in 2000.
The increase is largely due to recent changes in the recruitment and awarding stages of the college search process. Since 2002, students awarded the prestigious Smith and selected Matthies scholarships are inducted into the University Honors Program and enjoy full membership privileges as soon as they have registered for classes. The Ellen and Lloyd Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund provides full-tuition awards based on superior academic performance, co-curricular achievements, personal references, writing ability, and SAT/ACT scores. No more than five are awarded in any given school year. The Mathies Scholar Awards are based on similar criteria and provide recipients with significant amounts of money toward their Wittenberg education.
The Smith and Matthies application pool for the Class of 2009 was composed of students from 23 states with a median academic profile of a 3.95–4.0 grade point average, 31–33 ACT score and a 1370–1450 SAT score. Wittenberg’s Office of Admission has committed increased time and effort to the recruitment and matriculation of these high school scholars, and it has paid off as more than 70 percent of the eligible applicants chose to complete the process for earning one of these prestigious scholarships.
“We have devoted additional efforts in our marketing and recruiting strategies to attract and yield our Smith and Matthies Scholars,” said Brad Pochard, assistant director of admission and academic scholarship coordinator. “These students adhere to the strategic plan of the university and become amazing assets to the student body.
“It is a pleasure to work with them throughout their college search working with them to recognize that a Wittenberg education can help them reach their personal goals.”
Members also get preferred housing options in Woodlawn Hall and 24-hour access to their own building on campus, the Matthies House, which provides students an attractive, comfortable and quiet environment for studying, relaxing and socializing with other members of the program. The house features two study lounges and a small kitchen stocked with cold and hot drinks and a computer lounge with six terminals.
Other students who achieve a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher in the course of their first and second years are automatically invited to apply early in spring semester each year. The application, which may vary in content from year to year, generally consists of a critical reaction to one of a number of scholarly articles chosen by the Honors Committee from different disciplines in order to appeal to the greatest number of possible applicants. Candidates are also asked to provide the names of two faculty members familiar with their work whom members of the committee might contact as references.
Students accepted into the University Honors Program in the spring of 2005 include Mallory Adams of Springfield, Ohio, class of 2008, English major; Jacob Ark of Springfield, Ohio, class of 2008, biology major; Megan Arthur of Columbus, Ohio, class of 2008, undeclared; Jeffrey Bradstreet of Cincinnati, Ohio, class of 2008, undeclared; Alex Brown of Marietta, Ohio, class of 2007, physics major; Jenna Corwin of Lexington, Ky., class of 2007, management major; Anna Hahn of Hilliard, Ohio, class of 2008, undeclared; Leigh Hendrix of Indianapolis, Ind., class of 2008, undeclared; Kaoru Hoshino of Tokyo, Japan, class of 2007, East Asian studies major; Kevin Magley of Great Falls, Va., class of 2007, economics/mathematics major; Robert Richardson of Parma, Ohio, class of 2007, psychology major; Seyed Sohi of Farmington, Mass., class of 2007, undeclared.
To graduate with University Honors, students must complete at least two Honors seminars, complete and successfully defend an Honors Thesis in the department of their major area of study, and maintain a 3.50 cumulative grade-point average.
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