LIU Post Honors Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost for Communications, Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island University, LIU Post
Brookville, N.Y. - For five decades, students with exceptional intellect and academic ambition have found challenges and rewards that match their abilities in the LIU Post Honors Program. One of the nation's first honors programs, it is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
The Honors Program consists of more rigorous versions of core classes; advanced electives; a full semester of research leading to a thesis; and opportunities to travel and participate in cultural activities and national conferences. Honors classes are limited to 20 students to foster a robust exchange of ideas. Seniors work privately with professors in their major on tutorial and thesis projects of their own creation.
“The Honors Program provides academically gifted students with a course of study designed to help them realize their potential and graduate with the finest possible credentials,” says Dr. Joan Digby, director of the Honors Program and author of “Smart Choices: Peterson’s Honors Colleges and Programs,” a nationally acclaimed guide to honors programs in America. “The objective of the program is enrichment and critical thinking, not acceleration. Its focus is on the individual.” She adds that most Honors Program students secure excellent jobs or pursue advanced degrees upon graduation.
Christian Wozny, an Honors Program alumnus who graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, says that the interpersonal skills he developed in the program helped him to launch his career in finance.
"The classes were small, and they were packed with people of Honors caliber,” says Wozny, chief financial officer for Global Wealth Management Operations at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “Having a tremendous amount of interaction with really bright people who constantly challenged each other was a very valuable experience. I was able to enter the business world without being intimidated by anybody, because I was used to dealing with top-notch people.”
More than 2,000 LIU Post students have participated in the Honors Program since its founding in 1963. Among them is Adam D’Antonio, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 2004.
D’Antonio, of Locust Valley, N.Y., is now an attorney, and was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court on June 10. Being sworn in by the justices of the nation’s highest court and having a conversation with Justice Sonya Sotomayor was “an unbelievable experience, almost indescribable,” D’Antonio recalls.
“The Honors Program allowed me to travel the country and meet people who I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet,” he said. “It gave me great insight and appreciation for different people and cultures, and the confidence to be successful.”
Participation in the Honors Program means membership in a unique decision-making community that is both academic and social. The Program's membership is comprised of a diverse group of students from all disciplines and many countries, and the students take an active role in shaping their academic journey, joining with faculty to choose Honors Program curricula, course instructors and extracurricular activities.
In 2007, Dr. Digby founded Partners in the Parks to forge a connection between college students and America’s great natural legacy. Partners in the Parks organizes unique opportunities for honors students and faculty to visit areas of the American landscape noted for their beauty, significance and lasting value. Seminars led by university faculty and park personnel include historical, scientific and cultural features unique to a given park.
Students enjoy recreational opportunities and engage in service learning in the parks, broadening their understanding of the overall value of national parks to our country and its citizens.
More than 400 students from over 20 colleges and universities have participated in Partners in the Parks – including Tim Heckman, a resident of New Hyde Park, N.Y., who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in earth science and adolescence education.
“I never really experienced the tranquility of the outdoors until I took advantage of the LIU Post Honors Program. Going to places like the Grand Canyon, Sequoia and the Buffalo River, you are able to relax, breathe deeply and do some introspective thinking about who and what is truly important to you," he said. "The parks in this country have so much to offer. Exploring them with other honors students from around the nation is an incredible experience.”
Honors Program students are eligible for special scholarships that help make college more affordable. Honors alumna Josephine Kalvin said scholarships made it possible for her to study at LIU Post – and her story inspired the students she went on to teach after graduation, as a corps member of Teach for America in South Carolina.
“Many of my students had no intention of going to college; it wasn’t an option for them for financial or other reasons,” Kalvin said. “I explained to them that my family was low income too, but that grants and scholarships made it possible for me to attend a school out of state that was perfect for me. That really opened their eyes to new possibilities in their lives.”
Each year, approximately 50 new freshman and transfer students are accepted into the Honors Program. To be considered for the program, applicants must have a high school average of 88 or above, and a score of 1,200 or higher on the combined math and verbal SAT or an ACT composite score of 24. Transfer students with a 3.2 GPA or higher also may be considered for the program.
To learn more, visit www.liu.edu/post/honors or call 516-299-2840.
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