INDIANAPOLIS — When members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis commencement ceremonies this Mother’s Day, 106 of them will have a distinctive place in campus history.
They are the first graduating class of IUPUI Honors Scholars. They began their college careers four years ago or less as first-time freshmen recruited for the then-new IUPUI Honors College.
“Our promise is a transformative Honors College experience that is challenging, engaging, meaningful, relevant, and one that that builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning and engagement,” said an IUPUI academic affairs committee report written in the founding days of the college.
The university has made good on its promise, according to comments from graduating Honors Scholars:
Gabriel Martinez, biology major: “I cannot thank the Honors College enough for my experience at IUPUI. It has been the best four years of my life. The relationships I have formed and opportunities that have been granted to me would not have been possible if I were not a part of the Honors College. … The staff and faculty truly care about your education and want you to succeed and have provided the resources to do so. One of the best parts of IUPUI is its location in relation to downtown Indianapolis. Being a metropolitan area provides many opportunities to volunteer and help those less fortunate.”
Hayley Michelle Grzych, chemistry major: “I had the opportunity to live in Honors House freshman year, where I was immersed into a group of people that loved learning and involvement just like me. As time went on, I was given many opportunities to meet unique individuals, partake in fun events with fellow scholars, and ultimately build the foundation for a lifetime of learning that undoubtedly prepared me to begin medical school this fall. The Honors Lounge was my favorite place on campus all four years. I went there every single day. … It provided a nice space on campus for us to collaborate and develop as both students and people.”
Stephanie Metcalf, chemistry major: “Without the (Chancellor’s) Scholarship, I probably wouldn’t have been at IUPUI at all. I wouldn’t have been able to live on campus my freshman year where I had an amazing mentor for an RA and met my best friends in college. My scholarship is the reason I was able to go to Costa Rica for spring break this past year and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. All the things that I have done at IUPUI and everything that has been accomplished comes back to the Honors College and the scholarship I received.”
Eric R. Wolf, biomedical engineering major: “The advisors here are amazing. They are very knowledgeable about campus resources and are always willing to help the students here to succeed. … As a part of a Spanish-speaking course, I did a service learning component at an English as a Second Language student resource center. It was very rewarding to see students who are at a language disadvantage thriving in an English environment and pursuing very lofty goals.”
The IUPUI Honors College offers a dynamic and challenging academic experience for high-ability students. It is open to highly motivated, creative students of all academic majors at IUPUI.
A graduation dinner and medal ceremony were held for the graduating Honors Scholars April 27 at the NCAA Hall of Champions and Conference Center. Each student, wearing an Honors Scholars medal, was individually photographed with the school’s founding dean, E. Jane Luzar.
“The IUPUI Honors College has worked to fulfill the original vision of the College developed in the 2008 IUPUI Academic Plan,” Luzar said. “As a key part of the campus enrollment shaping initiative, we have successfully transformed the Honors Program into the four-year IUPUI Honors College.
“This has brought first-time-in-college high-ability students to IUPUI in significant numbers and provided them a dynamic academic experience in a vibrant new space. We are seeing this first class of Honors Scholars graduate in four years or less with substantial participation in the RISE (research, international study, community service and experiential learning options) Initiative.”
This first class of graduating Honors Scholars distinguished themselves as students and as community members.
Among the 2014 IUPUI Top 100 students, 26 were graduating Honors Scholars, including six of the Top Ten Males, seven of the Top Ten Females, and the Top Male student. In addition, the Honors College class completed more than 3,000 hours of community service. Eight of the students were winners of the 2014 Plater Civic Engagement Medallion, which recognizes IUPUI graduates who have exhibited exemplary commitment to serving the community.
“By creating the IUPUI Honors College we made a new commitment to student success,” said IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz. “The Class of 2014 embodies that commitment, not only in academic excellence but in civic engagement that focuses on making a difference in the world.”
Incoming IUPUI freshmen who meet strict entrance requirements — including a weighted high school GPA of 3.75 or more, and a minimum SAT score of 1250 or an ACT score of at least 28 — are offered an IUPUI Chancellor’s Scholarship and direct admission to the Honors College.
Honors Scholars also include students with scholarships under three other competitive programs: the Bepko Scholars and Fellows Program, the Adam W. Herbert Presidential Scholarship and the Plater International Scholars Program.
The IUPUI Honors College also offers its students smaller and more challenging classes; greater interaction and collaboration with faculty; the ability to individualize their majors through independent study and research; a Scholars-only lounge/study area; and two residential living-learning experiences.