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September / October 2003

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UMaine Today Magazine

Lasting Impression

Honors College

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Seven decades ago, University of Maine Professor of English Stanley Ashby started an Honors Program modeled after the tutorials, extensive outside reading and small group discussions he had in 1904 as one of the first Rhodes Scholars. When Ashby established UMaine's Honors Program for undergraduates in the 1930s, it was one of only a handful in the United States.

Today, that program is now a college. In UMaine's Honors College, 500 of the university's most academically talented undergraduates are engaged in interdisciplinary coursework and research with mentoring faculty. The rigorous curriculum culminates with an in-depth thesis project in the student's academic field.

Honors students explore areas of thought not closely related to their disciplines, all the while working in their majors with greater intensity than is often possible in a conventional course pattern. Across the university, Honors College students and faculty members form a community of scholars.

Professor of Political Science Robert Thomson, who served as director of the Honors Program for more than 20 years, firmly believed that honors students need a solid grasp of "the basic approaches of science, social studies and humanities, and some consideration of the kinds of problems with which these areas of thought are concerned."

Last year, when the Honors Program became a college, UMaine President Peter Hoff called the transformation "a cornerstone of our focus on quality."

Today, more than ever, Honors is fulfilling its motto and "igniting a passion for learning."

"Lasting Impression" features a memorable person or event in UMaine history.


UMaine Today Magazine
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