Honors Program alumnus Benjamin Aguiñaga (BA, ’12) was recently appointed as Louisiana's solicitor general. With a proven track record of legal excellence, Aguiñaga is set to bring his expertise to bear on critical issues facing the state.
This January, 14 Honors College students embarked on a two-week journey through Italy, immersing themselves in the Great Texts in Italy program. Guided by the expertise of Associate Professor of Philosophy and Great Texts, Scott Moore, Ph.D., Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Dean Emeritus, Thomas Hibbs, Ph.D., and Senior Lecturer in the Honors Program Stacey Hibbs, Ph.D., students explored the various locales depicted in Dante’s Divine Comedy and visited culturally significant sites from the Italian Renaissance.
Under Dr. Elizabeth Corey's guidance, Baylor's Honors Program has thrived with a 25% increase in program retention and an uptick in prestigious award winners. In this Q&A, Dr. Corey addresses the program's unique qualities, discusses mentorship, celebrates the rewarding experience of teaching, and shares how leading the program has influenced her scholarship.
Recently, I’ve benefitted from a reading group discussing Vincent Lloyd’s Religion of the Field Negro: On Black Secularism and Black Theology. My attendance is marred by conflicts with other meetings, but when able, I’ve learned much from exploring the book with Barry Harvey, Jenny Howell, Wemimo Jaiyesimi, Steve Reid, Christopher Richmann, and others.
Since leaving Baylor, Jerome Loughride’s (BA,’ 95) career path has been anything but linear. Having held key positions in higher education, private equity, the energy sector, and public service, Loughridge credits his time as a University Scholar for helping him to succeed in vastly different lines of work and leadership--and to do so with a grounded understanding of his calling.
The first time University Scholar alumna Libby Feray (BA, ’20) saw First Baptist Amarillo she was sitting in Dr. David Jeffrey’s Masterworks of Arts course. After looking at dozens of photos of ancient cathedrals scattered across Europe, Feray was captivated the most by a church built during the 1920s in the Panhandle of Texas.
As graduation approaches, seniors Emma Merrill, Robbie Ridder, Kaitlyn Vana, and Anna Louise Wages share how their time in the Honors College impacted and prepared them for the future.
Dr. Douglas V. Henry, Dean of the Honors College and Associate Professor of Philosophy, has been elected to a four-year term on the National Board of the Lilly Network for Church-Related Colleges and Universities.
As the years of my life accumulate, the scope of my gratitude has also grown. Like you, I have much for which to give thanks. I acknowledge and feel gratitude more profoundly than at any prior point in my life. When we see everything within God’s divine economy, wherein gift and plenitude are watchwords, how can we not give thanks from the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our minds?
The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core welcomed Ross Natividad, B.A. ’10, M.A. ’12, J.D. for their annual Homecoming Lecture. In his talk titled, “Lessons Learned after the BIC,” Ross shared valuable insights drawn from his experiences within the BIC program and illuminated on how those lessons continue to shape his life today.
During the annual Drumwright Family Lecture, Vincent Lloyd, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Religion at Villanova University, delivered an engaging talk titled "Pursuing Justice in Toxic Times." At the heart of his lecture were deep insights about challenges in the modern pursuit of justice.
Three years ago, I led an Honors Colloquium on Will Campbell’s Brother to a Dragonfly, a National Book Award finalist. Little did I know that within a few days, I would receive a student’s strident complaint. We live in times in which disagreement too often leads to distrust and disengagement, or worse. But happily in this case, honestly expressed doubts and openness to conversation led to understanding. I’m grateful for the student’s complaint and her desire to discuss it with me.
With his book, Called Into Questions, hitting shelves today, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Theology in the Honors Program, Matthew Anderson, D. Phil., invites readers on a captivating journey into the realm of Christian faith and a posture of questioning. In this interview, we sit down with Anderson to explore the intricate interplay between faith and inquiry, shedding light on a profound relationship explored in his latest release.
When offering advice to aspiring physicians, Catherine Harrell, M.D. (BA ’06), a seasoned dermatologist and University Scholars alumna, advocates for a unique approach: do not major in a science.
Faculty and staff members are the heart and soul of any academic institution, shaping the educational experiences of students and driving the pursuit of knowledge. Baylor University's Honors College stands as a shining example of the transformative power of exceptional faculty and staff.
After celebrating his one-year anniversary as the Director of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, Darren Middleton, Ph.D. reflects in this Q&A on his first year with the BIC and shares his hopes for the future.
I’m an easy mark for campus novels. Give me Lodge, McInerny, Russo, Sayers, Snow, or Tartt—no matter which, fictionalized collegiate life fascinates me.
Rebecca Kuang’s Babel is the latest entry. Principally set in 1830s Oxford, but in an alternate reality, the novel’s protagonist, Robin Swift, is the Cantonese ward of a renowned Sinologist. Spirited away from destitution to posh Hampstead, Robin receives an education that fits him for Oxford. There, he pursues a degree through the Royal Institute of Translation, aka Babel. Robins’s soaring dreams are plausible in a period Oxford that enchants. Until it doesn’t.
Every summer, Honors College students set out to fling their green and gold afar. For junior Elizabeth John, senior Lily Weir, and junior Devin Gann that looked like an elite internship and serving on mission in Kenya and Greece. These three students share a glimpse into what their summer held.
Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D. is pleased to announce the launch of a new, nationally competitive Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship Program. Beginning this fall, recently minted PhDs will be mentored by Honors College faculty while gaining experience in interdisciplinary classroom instruction.
The Honors College is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Anderson, D. Phil., as Assistant Professor of Ethics and Theology in the Honors Program. He is set to begin August 1.
I’ve made at least a dozen trips to what Pindar praised as “splendid, honorable Athens.” Cumulatively, I’ve spent more than six months in Greece. For all that time, however, I had never visited the site of Plato’s Academy. On a free day last month, I took a leisurely walk to see what I could, and to do as Horace proposed: to “seek for truth in the groves of Academe.”
WACO, Texas (June 1, 2023) – Baylor University today announced a $5 million gift from John and Helen Carona of Dallas, providing significant momentum and support for the renovation and construction of the Honors Residential College, as well as the University’s other major capital priorities through the Give Light Capital Fund.
During the last two weeks of May, 10 Honors College students traveled to Athens for two weeks of ministry, service, and learning. Led by Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D. and Classics Lecturer Joe DiLuzio, Ph.D., students served with joy while deepening their own sense of Christian calling, responsiveness to the Lord, usefulness in Christ’s church, and awareness of the challenges for people in Greece, Europe, and the wider world.
Each year the Honors College awards a select number of full-tuition scholarships through the Getterman Scholars Program. The highly competitive program attracts some of the country’s best and brightest high school seniors to Baylor University.
With four Getterman Scholars just completing their time at Baylor, the Honors College asked each of them to reflect on their experience.
Robert Bulwer-Lytton’s poem ‘Athens” evokes a greatness to which humanity aspires, yet which despite high-flown vision, falls short of what’s most desired. That, Plato recognized, is the gift of being united forever to divine beauty, And as St. Paul told the Athenians of his day, human art and imagination cannot achieve this highest good, but must yield to the one in whom we live and move and have our being, the Lord who is hailed and harked by lark and nightingale.
WACO, Texas (May 3, 2023) – Baylor University today announced a $1.5 million challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation of Midland, Texas, providing significant momentum and support for the renovation and construction of the Honors Residential College. The grant will fund a significant portion of the more than $7 million needed in philanthropic support to complete the project, one of many capital projects funded through the Give Light campaign.
Baylor Honors College recently hosted alumnus Samuel Chen (B.A. ’09, M.A. ’11) as the keynote speaker for Academic Honors Convocation. Chen—an award-winning political scientist, consultant, and strategist—gave a powerful address to this year’s honorees in his talk titled, “What Does Washington have to do with Waco?”
The Baylor Honors College is excited to announce that William Weaver, Ph.D., Professor of Literature in Great Texts, has accepted appointment as the new Director of Great Texts. Weaver, who follows Phil Donnelly, Ph.D., in the role, is set to begin June 1.
If, per impossibile, we could become friends with fictional characters, Isabel Dalhousie would appear on my list. Over the last fifteen years, I’ve gotten to know her through Alexander McCall Smith’s novels in his Sunday Philosophy Club series. He portrays Isabel with a range of commendable qualities. Her wonder accompanies her everyday experiences and thoughts, and her wisdom-loving moves in many directions.
Earlier this spring, the Baylor Board of Regents approved a budget increase of $22.75 million for the renovation of the Honors Residential College (HRC) bringing the total project budget to $57.75 million. The project, which is slated to begin in May, fulfills key commitments of Illuminate Forward to improve students’ residential campus experience and to improve the Honors College.
Alan Jacobs, Ph.D., a longtime Baylor Honors College faculty member, literary critic and author, has been appointed as The Jim and Sharon Harrod Endowed Chair of Christian Thought. In this position, Jacobs will build on decades of past scholarship to promote deep study of the relationship between faith and knowledge, while fostering rich avenues for transformational learning among Baylor’s students within the Honors College. The Harrod Chair also will further ensure Baylor is a national leader in dialogue concerning the intersection of faith and learning in higher education.
Returning to a mainstay of pre-pandemic life, a group of Honors Residential College (HRC) students devoted their Spring Break to mission work. This year’s trip involved service alongside One More Child, an organization that exists to provide Christ-centered services to vulnerable children and struggling families both domestically and internationally, at their headquarters in Lakeland, Fla.
In 1910, on a little patch of farmland in central Oklahoma, my grandmother was born into another world. Three years prior, Oklahoma Territory had given way to statehood, but large swaths of the state remained frontier land. Then, as now, distant men commanded unfathomable wealth and power, yet the baby who would become my grandmother was as blissfully unaware of Franz Joseph I, Nicholas II, and George V as they were of her.
The Baylor University Honors College, with gratitude for sponsorship by Provost Emeritus Donald Schmeltekopf, Ph.D. and his wife, Judy, is excited to announce the establishment of the Annual Ethics and Culture Lecture Series. The first lecture of the series will feature Russell Moore, Ph.D., Editor in Chief at Christianity Today, and be held on Monday, March 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Baylor Club Ballroom.
When Great Texts alumnus Christopher Scott, (BA, ’04) stepped foot onto Baylor’s campus, he had $600 to his name thanks to a love offering from his home church. Knowing Baylor was where he was supposed to be, Scott took a leap of faith and worked to fill in the gaps financially.
After five years of faithful work in congregations across Texas, The Soundings Project has received a two-year grant extension from Lilly Endowment Inc. Led by Darin Davis, Ph.D., clinical professor of moral philosophy in the Honors Program, and director of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL), Soundings will continue to serve as hub of innovation for 12 congregations as they reflect deeply and theologically about the nature of vocation.
In her recent book,
Death and Religion: The Basics, Dr. Candi Cann, Associate Professor of Religion in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, leads readers through a thorough and accessible introduction to dying, death, grief, and conceptions of the afterlife in world religions. In honor of the book’s release, Dr. Cann answers a few questions about her newest work:
This January the Honors College had the privilege of hosting 36 of the nation’s most academically sought-after high school seniors for Getterman Scholars Day. Since the program’s inception in 2017, 18 full-cost-of-attendance scholarships have been awarded to students from around the country and the program has grown into one of the most prominent scholarship opportunities at Baylor.
The deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage joins the Abrahamic covenant and the giving of the law at Sinai as a defining encounter of the Hebrews with the Lord, the one “who brought [them] out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The Exodus, and especially the Passover, thus shaped the faith Jesus’s first disciples, as it should ours too.
Yet the late Al Raboteau points out that not all Christians have thought alike about the Exodus, especially in American political history.
Baylor University’s Honors College has appointed Jonathan Tran, Ph.D., formerly Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology and George W. Baines Chair of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, as Associate Dean for Faculty. In addition to his administrative role, Dr. Tran now holds a tenured position as Associate Professor of Theology in the Great Texts Program. Tran’s appointment was effective January 1.
Next week brings us to the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are blessings within the Honors College for which I’m thankful.
I’m thankful for you, a faculty and staff who are known for ability, brilliance, character, dedication, effectiveness, faith—I could easily carry on through the rest of the alphabet, but you get the point.
In his recent book, Why We Kiss Under the Mistletoe, Dr. Michael Foley, Professor of Patristics in the Great Texts Program, dives deep into the history of Christmas and the customs that surround the beloved holiday that celebrates Jesus’s birth. Throughout its pages, Foley guides readers through the history of our favorite Christmas carols, foods, and drinks and even digs into the Yuletide season’s dark and ghoulish side.
This year, the Honors College achieved 20 years as an academic unit at Baylor. With 1500 students pursuing dozens of academic majors and pre-professional programs around the university, the Honors College has grown into an extraordinary community of accomplishment, friendship, and vision, all in service to Baylor’s Christian mission. As this year comes to a close, we wanted you to know some of our key facts and figures as we launch into our next season of academic life.
Todd Buras, Ph.D., Department Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Phil Donnelly, Ph.D., Director of the Great Texts Program and Professor of Literature in the Honors College, have received a $189,999 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to build on the success of their 2021 summer seminar titled Disputatio and the Pursuit of Wisdom in the Humanities.
This year was a record-breaking year for prestigious international scholarships at Baylor with 14 students – eight of which were Honors College students - receiving Fulbright scholarships. Five of our recent alumni share about their experience abroad so far as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA), and how the Honors College helped equip them for the journey ahead.
Before Baylor Interdisciplinary Core graduate Matthew Pierce (BBA, ’09) enrolled at Baylor, he and his mother had a conversation about how they would fund his undergraduate education. Unsure of where the money would come from, Pierce’s mother reassured him that God would give him more on the journey than at the start.
Baylor University Honors College recently hosted Jessica Hooten Wilson, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar of Liberal Arts at Pepperdine University, for its annual Drumwright Family Lecture. Wilson’s talk titled The Little Way through the Apocalypse centered around Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her Little Way.
In Reading Walker Percy’s Novels (LSU Press, 2018), Jessica Hooten Wilson frames her interpretation of Love in the Ruins, this way: "The end of the world has been lamented repeatedly throughout history: in Mesopotamian culture, in ancient Rome when the barbarians ransacked the capital, in the headlines of British news during World War I. Every age has suffered crises that have pushed some prophets and artists to don metaphorical sackcloth and cry out, 'This is the end!' Even now, the twenty-first century is rife with apocalyptic terror . . . The question is, what to do when the world crashes down around you? How to live and love in the ruins of civilization?"
If you spend any time in the Honors College, it does not take long to hear Dr. Alden Smith’s name. Since 1994, the longtime professor and Master Teacher in Classics has served as the Director of the University Scholars Program, Director of the Honors Program, and Associate Dean of the Honors College, but if you ask him what he loves most about his time at Baylor, it is the connections he makes with his students.