Emporia State University honored a group of students on Thursday. A reception was held for the first group of Honors College students that are currently attending classes at the university.

The university has had an honors program in place for years — the college distinction adds to the allure for current and future students.

“This will give us the opportunity to attract a number of students into very specific programs across the gamut, which I think is exciting,” ESU President Michael Shonrock said. “I’m amazed by the talent. This is going to be based on the idea of common good and civic engagement and leadership.”

The main ideas behind the Honors College are teaching students to work for the common good, teach leadership and civic skills and helping students to become overall productive members of society.

Associate Provost Gary Wyatt will act as director of the Honors College and told the crowd at the reception that many things will be happening for these students. They will participate in research programs abroad along with having enhanced curriculums, smaller classes and a mentoring program stateside as just a part of Honors College.

The distinction that will be printed on a student’s diploma is partially funded by the state and is something that sets ESU apart.

“One of the things we want to do is to continue to distinguish ourselves as an institution in the state, the region and the nation,” Shonrock said.“They’re going to be working in communities in Kansas, and one of the things I’m excited about is that this is going to be a very distinct, unique experience for the students who are part of the program.

The overall outlook on the benefits of the Honors College has not been lost on elected officials.

“We’re very grateful to the Board of Regents for their support, certainly the governor, their staff and our legislators,” Shonrock said. “They provided an additional million dollars per year to support the Honors College. To say that our budget was humble before would be an understatement,” Shonrock said. “So to have the opportunity to have those types of resources to invest in our faculty, our students, in terms of really building a program. What a great opportunity for Emporia State University.”

The Honors College has a lot of potential to not simply increase enrollment, but to attract students that go above and beyond.

“Honors is an attitude,” Wyatt said.

He compared it to a 4-year-old in that there is always one question: why?

“They’re just absolutely consumed with curiosity, and they do everything they can to try to find out,” Wyatt said. “That’s what Honor College students are. For them, an education is about something more than credentials. Credentials are important, but to be a truly educated person means so much more than that. We want to create an environment where that curiosity can go forward.”

The list of new inductees are Tiffany Boulware, DesHae’ Caldcleught, Alexandra Ewy, Dustin Eyster, Jessie Farnsworth, Gabrielle Garrison, Kayla Gilmore, Jhon F. Huachaca, Nicole Marshall, Alyssa McGill, Nwogu Nkemdirim Nnaoma, Andy Renteria, Alex Rojas, Tyler Christopher Schweistzer, David Szabo and Mackenzie Walls.

For more information on the program including requirements, scholarships and application forms, visit www.emporia.edu/honors.

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