Today, I approved the University Senate’s recommendation that we create an Honors College at San Diego State University. As I signed, I had a cascade of visions and thoughts of our university’s history and aspirations. I saw the familiar photograph of young men and women, enrolled at the San Diego Normal School, sitting in a circle on the beach studying – the men in suits and the women in their Victorian-era long dresses. I saw students, faculty and staff members moving furniture and books as we established our current campus on Montezuma Mesa at the height of the Great Depression in 1931. These visions were woven together with an appreciation for the efforts of the administrators, faculty, staff and students who led us to the university status (and current name) that we attained in 1974 and for those efforts in the ensuing 40 years that have led to progress on every significant measure of academic excellence. The establishment of the Honors College builds seamlessly on this tradition of aspiration and academic excellence. It will improve our honors education experience, help recruit academically strong students and raise the profile of our culture of achievement. Looking to the future, the Honors College will support a large, diverse group of high-achieving students who benefit from its focus on inquiry, engagement, and interdisciplinary problem-solving. These students will, through their campus leadership roles and their participation in the broader intellectual life of the university, strengthen our campus culture and lay the foundation for even greater academic aspirations. The Honors College is, however, about much more than aspiration and academic excellence. It is also about building a community, a gathering place, for a diverse group of students within a larger university. In this regard, the establishment of the Honors College is a part of our ongoing efforts to create smaller communities of place and purpose that support student success. Among other important efforts to bring together members of our community are the Aztec Mentor Program, the Aztec Scholars Program, the Commuter Resource Center, the Price Community Scholars Program, the Pride Center, new residential learning communities, the Writing Center and the Zahn Innovation Center. In this regard, our aspirations for excellence support the very fabric of our community. This thread, above all else, ties together our past, our present and our future.
Blog written by Dr. Elliot Hirshman, President of San Diego State University
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