Spotlight on the First Year Honors Program

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Spotlight on the First Year Honors Program at Geneva College

An academically challenging institution like Geneva College requires hard work and overall academic faithfulness. One of the ways that Geneva serves students who exemplify academic excellence is through the First Year Honors Program. Incoming freshman are invited to participate based on an index of their GPA and SAT scores, and the program, directed by Dr. David Guthrie and his assistant Kara Lee Mantinaos, provides a number of benefits for students.

Not only does the program offer honors-student-only courses tailored to fit motivated learners, other benefits include retreats, cultural events, supplementary academic advising, tuition free credits, privileged meetings with campus leaders and guest speakers, and the opportunity to live in community with other honors students. And no one understands the program better than current freshman in the honors program like Roy Lowrie, Josh Carback and David Doyle.

Lowrie explained his favor for the cultural events saying, "We saw a show in Pittsburgh; I would have never gotten to see professional theater like that otherwise."

Carback shared a similar opinion saying, "I saw my first opera on an honors trip as well, and the feeling you get being part of a group that people believe is really worth an extra investment of time and energy is awesome."

Honors students have the opportunity to live in the same section or floor with other students in the Honors Program. Carback explained, "The living community on the honors floor really helped me to network and build relationships with people who are motivated and really want to invest their time and energy into their college experience. That has a nice payoff in terms of always having strong study partners - people who can give you feedback on assignments that you want help with."

Doyle also counts the community living a blessing. He said, "Its existence has fostered a community of learning, where students are encouraged and stimulated to greater thinking and more proficient academic endeavors."

There are also unplanned advantages of the program, like the organic mentoring relationships Honors Students can build with staff and faculty. "Ultimately, I am convinced that God has used it to better my life, to understand more fully the academic aspect of my calling in Christ, and to uplift and encourage my classmates. For this, I am very thankful, both for Him and for those running the Honors program-Dr. Guthrie and Kara Lee," said Doyle.

Lowrie added, "They don't just learn our names. They learn things about us, and are truly interested in our lives and seeing us succeed."

Dr. Guthrie shared his perspective saying, "All of it excites me, particularly the gift that I am afforded to befriend and work closely with first year honors students."

Carback sends this message to prospective students considering the First Year Honors Program: "If you get into the First Year Honors program, do it. The tuition benefit of being able to take extra courses with no charge, the living community, the seminars and the cultural events are opportunities that are too great to pass up."

The Honors Program also brings cohesion to Geneva′s mission. Guthrie explains, "Geneva is interested in not just graduating engineers, educators, and business professionals, but rather engineers, educators and business professionals with a passion for the kingdom of God."

-Micah Yarger ′12