In its ninth year, the sixth cohort of the Texas A&M University-Commerce Honors College is preparing to graduate with many students continuing their educations in renowned programs.
“Each year I’ve been impressed with the accomplishments of our Honors College students. However, even against the backdrop of those previous accomplishments, this year truly stands out,” said Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Raymond Green. “Anyone, and everyone, should be impressed by the number of post-baccalaureate acceptances and the caliber of the universities offering those acceptances. Top notch universities in our country are competing for our graduates—that is a testament to the work done by these students and the strength of the education provided by Texas A&M University-Commerce.”
Dr. Green started the Honors College in the fall of 2007 after former president, Dr. McFarland, asked Dr. Green how the university could bring great students to A&M-Commerce. Dr. Green cautiously suggested full-ride scholarships and to his pleasant surprise, Dr. McFarland agreed and the Honors College was formed shortly thereafter.
The scholarship includes full tuition and fees for four years along with free apartment housing, partial board and a stipend for textbooks. Students in the Honors College are required to complete 30 hours of honors course credits, maintain above a 3.3 grade point average, successfully propose and defend an honors thesis and complete 96 service hours prior to graduation. In addition, every Honors College student meets individually with the Assistant Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, each semester before registering for classes. Each Honors College cohort includes approximately 50 students.
“I think the Honors College is absolutely wonderful,” said future University of North Texas Doctor of Physical Therapy student Collin Rodgers. “It prepares you no matter what field you are planning on going into, no matter what your major is, it’s good to be around people who help you grow academically and personally as well.”
Despite majoring in a wide variety of fields, ranging from history and English double majors to mathematics, psychology, journalism-public relations and chemistry, all of the graduates exhibit a pattern when discussing the university. They all praised the Honors College and commented on the relationships they were able to build with their professors due to the relatively small campus size.
“Being in the Honors College provided me with a lot of opportunities at this university that I wouldn’t have had at a larger university,” said future Texas Christian University History Master of Arts student and PhD candidate Sarah Miller. “In a smaller setting, I was able to do more things.”
Although all of the students stated in one form or another that they came to A&M-Commerce ultimately for the Honors College, they agree that they could not put a price on their experiences.
“The opportunity to learn, to navigate my undergrad career from Honors College faculty and Dr. Raymond Green, dean of Honors, has been invaluable,” said Hannah White, future University of Texas Southwestern Medical School student. “Participating in the close-knit living and learning environment that is the Honors College experience prepared me to succeed in my summer medical school internship programs and stand out on medical school applications.”
Aside from the close learning environment, several students cite the Honors College as the reason why they’ve been accepted into many prestigious programs, including Bailey Phillips, a future Texas A&M University chemistry PhD candidate who was accepted into eight other fully funded chemistry PhD programs.
“Dr. Green and Dr. Villanueva-Russell are so supportive,” said Phillips. “Dr. Green was huge in helping me throughout the application process and whenever I would freak out about anything, Dr. Green was there for me. It also helps that I was able to put that I was in the Honors College and completed an honors thesis. Rice said that they loved my psychology thesis and how they could apply it to chemistry, so I think that that’s huge.”
The Honors College has attracted students to A&M-Commerce from a wide variety of locations including Laura Heron, who is originally from Hampshire, England. Heron is now a future PhD candidate in industrial/organizational psychology at Florida International University.
“Dr. Green helps you succeed because he always answered questions and gave really good advice,” said Heron. “The Honors College, in general, the environment, helps you succeed too.”
Other students praised the professors at the university, including history and English double major and future William and Mary School of Law student, Brianna Crews.
“I think the thing that the university offered the most were the professors, I had some really amazing professors who just inspired me, who pushed me to be better,” said Crews. “At A&M-Commerce you are able to personally get to know your professors and have professors who are here because they care, and they want to help you succeed and are interested in working with you. Because of how small the university is, I’ve also been able to present papers at conferences as an undergraduate and that definitely wouldn’t have happened if those professors had not said ‘hey you can go present at conferences as an undergraduate’. That’s what A&M-Commerce offers—a small community where you get to know your professors and your professors actually care.”
In addition to Rodgers, Miller, White, Phillips, Heron and Crews, three students, Miranda Lester, Cortney Stewart and Breanna Green will be attending the Veterinary School at Texas A&M University, a top rated program. Bradford Garcia and Kaylin Taylor will join Phillips, Lester, Stewart and Green at Texas A&M University with Garcia attending as a PhD candidate in mathematics and Taylor working toward her master’s at The Bush School of Public Policy. Courtney Crumpton will join Rodgers at the University of North Texas, as a student in the master’s cohort higher education program, and Reagan Reed, a student from the seventh cohort of the Honors College, will pursue her master’s in public relations/advertising at the University of Alabama.
This incredible group of students has set the tone for what is expected out of Honors College graduates, and the university cannot wait to see them grow as alumni.
Over the years, the Honors program has expanded with the addition of the Regents Scholars and Leo Scholars. These students receive sizable scholarships as well.
Learn more about the Honors College and other honors programs at A&M-Commerce here.