Past, Present, Progress

Fall is always an exciting time in the Honors College, as new students join familiar faces. This year, the energy here on campus is especially high. The more-than 1,000 students currently in the HC – our largest enrollment ever – are witnesses to a time of tremendous growth and development in the college. And as we reach our 20th anniversary, the greater community of Honors alumni and friends has never been more engaged with our present and our future.

Tony DoolenA major piece of that future will be our new permanent home in a state-of-the-art facility currently under construction on the west side of campus. The Learning Innovation Center (LinC) will house 2,300 classroom seats in a variety of unique teaching spaces. The Honors College will be a programmatic anchor for the building, occupying the west-facing sides of the top two floors. We’ll have a spacious lounge and study areas for students, classrooms custom-built for HC courses, and expanded advising and office spaces that will allow us to support the 1,200-1,500 students we expect to enroll in the years ahead – all framed by remarkable views of the coast range and Mary’s Peak. When the building opens next fall, it will be a physical instantiation of the prominence of the HC on campus and the confidence of President Ray and university leadership in the college and its course.

In the meantime, we have already said goodbye to our historic home in Strand. Extensive renovations to the building forced us to leave this past summer. For our one transitional year, we have set up in Weniger Hall. Thanks to outstanding support from Oregon State’s facilities group and our partners in the College of Science, we have a temporary home that suits our needs remarkably well.

Still, we can’t help but look forward to next year, and it is all the more fitting that we will be celebrating the HC’s 20th birthday just as we move into a beautiful new building. And celebrate is exactly what we intend to do, with a series of events on Friday, October 23, 2015, bringing back alumni, staff, faculty, and friends from all years of the college’s history. We have already begun planning a terrific slate of activities for the day with a small committee of enthusiastic alumni. I can hardly wait for the opportunity to bring together the full HC community to commemorate all that we’ve accomplished and share the excitement of the college’s present and future. In advance of this anniversary event, we are working with a second group of dedicated alumni to launch an unprecedented alumni-directed fund-raising initiative designed to build up scholarship resources, making sure future students can enjoy the full benefits of the HC experience. There will be a competitive aspect to this, tied to our 2015 anniversary event; Honors alums can expect to soon hear more about this from alumni leaders!

The commitment and dedication of Honors students is what makes this such an incredible place and to see how that grows after graduation, with alumni who are not only engaged in remarkable lives and careers of their own, but are eager to connect and contribute to the community of current students, has made our efforts to reach out to alums a particularly rewarding endeavor for me. Our alumni embody all that the college has accomplished in its twenty years, and I could not be more excited to draw from their strength and experience to continue building on a legacy of dedicated graduates through the next decades. I feel fortunate to be part of this truly amazing time in our history and am looking towards an even more exciting future.

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Toni L. Doolen
Dean, Honors College
Oregon State University

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