About

The URI Honors Program

The University of Rhode Island is home to a community of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to academic excellence, artistic creativity, and intellectual curiosity. Members of the Honors Program share a passion for learning, pursuing knowledge across the disciplinary boundaries, and seek out engaging experiences that complement their education. Students and faculty in the program are committed to improving themselves, the lives of others, and the state of our world. They study the important issues facing our society and seek innovative solutions to the problems they encounter.

Interdisciplinary: courses designed to work at the intersection of problems and fields

Innovative: cutting edge faculty who design courses specifically for the program

Inspiring: ambitious, creative, and collaborative peer groups

Individualized: learning models and program structure to suit specific student needs

Integrative: advising tailored to make the most of academic and co-curricular activities

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  • The earliest documentation of the URI Honors Program occurs in 1969. A flyer focuses on how the Honors Program: “departs from the regular academic curriculum approach and content [to] invite a select number of undergraduates to participate with … faculty and visiting scholars of distinction in an academic inquiry.”

    That academic inquiry was the Honors Colloquium. Back then the colloquium was a year-long, six credit course that allowed students to meet with faculty and outside researchers and scholars in an extended think tank focused on critical analysis. The lecture series attached to the Colloquium has been open to the public since 1970, but those accepted into the Honors Program were upper class undergraduates who had a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for juniors and 3.2 for seniors. Eligible upperclassmen had to apply for both the Honors Program and Colloquium by soliciting letters of recommendation from their department chair and academic dean.

    Once accepted, honors students completed the colloquium and a separate, independent project under the purview of their major professor. Until AY 1980-81, the Honors Program was smaller, less programmatic, and without a central mission. In the fall of 1980, the Honors Program staff developed a mission, expanded the program’s offerings, and offered courses, including the colloquium, for the general education requirement. These changes meant honors eligible students could take Honors Program courses in their freshmen year. Additionally, the Honors Colloquium became a general education honors course. In the fall of 1981, Professor Stephen Wood, Political Science, was named the first director of the Honors Program. And in 1983, the first five URI undergraduate students graduated with a completion of the Honors Program notation on their transcripts.

    Throughout the 1980s, the Honors Program grew, but there were no more than 100 students at any time in the program.

    In the late 1990s, under the direction of Philosophy Professor Galen Johnson, the Honors Program course offerings were diversified through three-year shared appointments for interested faculty members. This shift added courses, raised the Honors Program’s profile across campus, and increased Honors eligible student participation. Additionally, URI’s Honors Program became the central resource for undergraduates interested in national and international scholarship opportunities through the work of Associate Director Cheryl Foster.

    In the twenty-first century, the Honors Program celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of URI’s Honors Colloquium. The Honors Program has grown enormously from one course focused on the Colloquium. Today, the program offers over fifty courses a semester and our faculty and staff advise students across the curriculum at every stage of their undergraduate career. Additionally, the Honors Program houses both the Office of National Fellowships and Pre-Health Professions Advising Program.

  • 2017: 
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Origins: Life, The Universe and Everything 

    2016:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Inequality and the American Dream

    2015:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Power of Humor

    Sophomores Ethan Snow and Haran Mennillo offered early acceptance to Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School through URI-Brown University Early Identification Program

    Sophomores Jessica Freedman, BS marine biology, and Jamie Schicho, BS ocean engineering, awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

    Jennifer Pigoga, BS cell and molecular biology and biology, awarded African Federation for Emergency Medicine one-year fellowship in South Africa

    Alexandra Azevedo, BA Philosophy and BS Biological Sciences, awarded a Boren scholarship

    Morgan Breene, BA History and Anthropology, GIS certificate, named URI’s first Marshall Scholar

    Hannah Masse, BS Nutrition and Dietetics, and Charlie Santos, BA Philosophy, awarded Metcalf scholarships

    Wilfredo Tangui, BS biological sciences, awarded a Gilman scholarship.

    William Law, BS biological sciences and BA Spanish, awarded two-year NIH Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) to work on HIV vaccine.

    Jasmine Miller, BS biological sciences, awarded UCONN Health Disparities Summer Research Fellowship.

    Catherine Linh, BS chemistry, awarded North East Water Resources Network (NEWRnet) undergraduate research internship.

    2014:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Cyber-Security and Privacy

    Sophomore Catherine Garcia offered early acceptance to Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School through URI-Brown University Early Identification Program

    2013:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Great Public Schools: Everyone’s Right Everyone’s Responsibility

    Lynne Derbyshire, Associate Professor, Communication Studies, appointed as director of URI Honors Program (Term began Fall ’13)

    Sophomore Shayla Minteer offered early acceptance to Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School through URI-Brown University Early Identification Program

    Alyssa Neill (nutrition & dietetics) was one of 61 college juniors nationwide to be named a Truman Scholar.

    2012:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Health Care Change?: Health, Politics, and Money

    URI Honors undergraduates Christopher Bobba (chemical engineering/biological sciences) and Russell Dauksis (marine biology) awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.

    Megan O’Brien (marine biology) awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland

    Brittany O’Brien (biological sciences) awarded a Boren scholarship

    Michael Canton (marine biology), Eilea Knotts (marine biology), Sarah Merolla (marine biology), Benjamin Sevey (marine biology), Callie Veelenturf (marine biology), Brenton Wallin (ocean engineering) awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

    2011:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Are You Ready for the Future?

    Eily Cournoyer (chemical engineering) awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

    Megan Banner (Microbiology/Pre-Med) and Kaylen Durarte (Journalism/Chinese) awarded Boren scholarships

    Margaret Frost (English Teaching Assistant) awarded Fulbright Fellowship to Colombia

    Russell Daukis (marine biology) awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

    Theresa Murphy (environmental science & management/marine affairs) awarded a UDALL Scholarship

    2010:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on RACE

    Brian Bonk (chemical engineering) awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

    Alexa Kretsch (aquaculture), Benjamin Negrete (marine biology), Megan Nepshinsky (marine biology) awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

    Joanna Panosky (geosciences) awarded a UDALL Scholarship

    2009:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on INDIA

    Kristin Almeida (Graduate student, Library and Info Sciences) awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Mauritius)

    Sarah Decato (chemistry), Megan O’Brien (Marine Biology), and Elana Viola (chemistry/electrical engineering/mathematics) awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships

    Connor Capizzano (marine biology), Megan O’Brien (marine biology), and Harrison Zimmer (ocean engineering) awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

    2008:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on People and the Planet: Global Environmental Change

    2007:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on China Rising

    2006:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Songs of Social Justice

    Richard McIntyre, Professor, Economics, appointed as director of URI Honors Program (Term began Fall ’06)

    2005:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Contemporary Sport: Healthy Pursuit or Obsession?

    2004:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Food and Human Rights, Hunger, and Social Policy

    2003:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Futures of Globalization

    2002:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Genetic Technology & Public Policy in the New Millennium

    2001:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on A Just and Sustainable Future

    Rachel Walshe awarded Rhodes Scholarship

    John DiMuro awarded Truman Scholarship

    2000:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past

    1999:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Legacies of the Vietnam War

    1998:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Literacy Challenge in America

    1997:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Global News

    Galen Johnson, Professor, Philosophy, appointed director of URI Honors Program (Term began Fall ’97)

    1996:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Moving Images

    1995:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Mortal Questions

    1994:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Your Friend the Computer: Having Fun Learning Just About Everything (AY ’94/’95)

    1993:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Walls and Bridges: Race, Gender, and Class (AY ’93/’94)

    1992:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on New Information Technologies: Panacea or Peril? (AY ‘92/’93)

    1991:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Poverty in America (AY ‘91/’92)

    Maury Klein, Professor, History, appointed as director of URI Honors Program (Term began Fall ’91)

    1990:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Science and Social Issues Related To Global Environmental Change (AY ‘90/’91)

    1989:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Dynamics of Decision Making (AY ‘89/’90)

    1988:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Knowledge and Its Uses (AY ’88-’89)

    Joan Lausier, Professor, Pharmacy, appointed as director of URI Honors Program (Term began Fall ’88)

    1987:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Building Family Strengths (AY ‘87/’88)

    1986:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Media Myths: Growing Up/Growing Older (AY ‘86/’87)

    1985:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Perspectives on Nuclear War (AY ‘85/’86)

    1984:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Real and Artificial Intelligence (AY ‘84/’85)

    Don Kunz, Professor Emeritus, English was appointed as Honors Program Director in the Fall of 1984.

    1983:
    The first 5 (five) Honors Program students graduate from URI

    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Political Persuasion in Campaign ’84 (AY ‘83/’84)

    1982:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Conservation of Biological and Cultural Resources: A Global Perspective (AY ‘82/’83)

    1981:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Coming to Grips with the Global Village (AY ‘81/’82)

    Stephen Wood, Professor Emeritus, Political Science was appointed as the first URI Honors Program Director in the Fall of 1981

    1980:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on In the Beginning: A Kaleidoscopic Veiw of Man’s and Nature’s Evolution (AY ‘80/81)

    1979:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Science and Poetry: Ways of Knowing

    1978:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Behavioral Science and Society: The Use and Abuse of Human Beings (AY ‘78/’79)

    1977:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Creativity and the Human Spirit (AY ‘77/’78)

    1976:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Superpowers at the Crossroads (AY ‘76/’77)

    1975:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Food (AY ‘75/’76)

    1974:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Aging, Dying, and Death (AY ‘74/’75)

    1973:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on People and Their Environment (AY ‘73/’74)

    1972:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Future (AY ‘72/’73)

    1971:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Human Communication (AY ‘71/’72)

    1970:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Youth, Politics, and Change (AY ‘70/’71)

    1969:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Science, Technology, and Social Change (AY ‘69/’70)

    1968:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The City (AY ‘68/’69)

    1967:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Change in the Contemporary International Environment (AY ‘67/’68)

    1966:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Creativity in Modern Society (AY ‘66/’67)

    1965:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Change in the Contemporary United States Environment (AY ‘65/’66)

    1964:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on The Changing Patterns of World Power (AY ‘64/’65)

    1963:
    Honors Colloquium Speaker Series on Technology and the Environment (AY ‘63/’64)

    September 30, 1963, First URI Honors Colloquium Speaker: Dr. David Reisman, Harvard University

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