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Honors Program

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Core Values

The Honors Program empowers academically talented students to achieve their full potential, enhancing their overall Marist educational experience. The Honors Program is built on a foundation of the following core values:

  • Academic Excellence 
    • Creating enriched educational opportunities for capable, highly motivated students that reflect a high level of academic rigor in the classroom and offer the Honors community challenging options for self-directed learning that may involve special projects within their majors or in the liberal arts core, including a culminating, distinctive work reflective of participation in the Honors Program.
  • Civic Learning 
    • Fostering opportunities for students to actively participate in civic and service-learning opportunities that effect positive change outside the classroom.
  • Leadership  
    • Contributing to the development of the students’ ability to lead, as well as their ability to be effective team members.
  • Building Character 
    • Improving intellectual discourse among students and faculty through a curriculum of specialized coursework, seminars, and events that demonstrate appropriate professional standards of behavior, respect for intellectual property, and a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Global Citizenship 
    • Enhancing learning with experiences that encourage students to engage with diverse communities at home and around the world, applying their knowledge and skills to serve others.

Upon successful completion of the Honors Program, students should have:

  • Developed a set of skills that enable independent and continuous learning.
  • Enhanced critical-thinking skills established through engagement in academic and non-traditional learning experiences requiring sophisticated modes of inquiry.
  • Developed collaborative and leadership skills exercised and refined within the Honors community of students and faculty.
  • Demonstrated qualities of leadership, citizenship, and character as defined in the program mission.
  • Designed, developed, and presented an Honors project that incorporates the mission, core values, and learning experiences of the Honors Program.


Ideas and Culture

Marist is ideally situated to take advantage of intellectual and cultural opportunities in both the Hudson River Valley and New York City. Each semester the Honors Program schedules lectures by top scholars and professionals. Honors students frequently visit cultural sites, museums, and theatrical performances. Over the years the Honors Program has traveled to the Wassaic Project, a community-based arts project in the Hudson Valley, to discuss how arts can change communities. Students have also visited the studio of a prominent contemporary artist. The Honors Program routinely schedules events that highlight important contemporary issues. For example, the Honors Program has hosted events with oncology surgeons on the ethics of surgery, a talk on contemporary art with a Wall Street Journal art critic, and discussed the life of an opera singer with a mezzo-soprano who routinely performs at the Metropolitan Opera. The cultural and intellectual mission of the Honors Program was especially evident in Professor John White’s honors opera seminar. In addition to learning about the history and aesthetics of opera, Honors students attended five operas at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Honors students have visited many different sites as co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, including:

  • Tenement Museum, New York City
  • Metropolitan Opera, New York City
  • Broadway, New York City
  • Innisfree Garden
  • John Burroughs Slabsides Nature Sanctuary


Civic Learning & Leadership 

As Honors students prepare to become leaders in their social and professional communities, they take a seminar with an emphasis on civic and service learning. These seminars include traditional academic content, and students also work collectively and creatively on problem solving through experiential learning. For example, every semester the Honors Program offers “Ethics of Food,” taught by Dr. Joseph Campisi. The course asks important questions about the consumption, production, and distribution of food. Students join Dr. Campisi at a variety of relevant locations throughout the Hudson River Valley. 

The Honors Program fosters an environment in which students emerge as leaders, including: participation in the Emerging Leaders Program; opportunities for a mentor program of first-year students; individually mentored faculty-student research experiences; an annual lecture with a prominent academic figure in leadership studies; and a leadership case study competition. Professor James Honan of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Kennedy School of Government has previously delivered the fall leadership lecture. In addition, the Honors Program runs a monthly leadership lunch to meet informally with campus leaders. In these ways and more, the Honors Program seeks to help students discover and refine their leadership capabilities.


Building Community in Honors

The Honors Program provides social, academic, and cultural programming to build a strong sense of community among students. In the first year, Honors students can live in designated campus Honors housing. As upperclassmen, Honors students take small seminar-style classes together. Throughout their four years, Honors students regularly participate in social and cultural events together. Recently, Honors students planned a fire pit night, an ice cream social, and an apple picking trip.