Reaud Honors College hosts multi-state conference
Showcases research and region’s history and natural attractions in 'Exploration Through Honors'
LU’s Reaud Honors College showcased its new, state-of-the-art facilities in the Wayne A. Reaud Building as well as several popular Southeast Texas destinations to more than 400 attendees during the Great Plains Honors Councils (GPHC) Conference March 31-April 2.
“This has been a great chance to show our community we’ve arrived on the scene as a major institution in honors education,” said Kevin Dodson, dean of the Reaud Honors College.
“Our honors students stepped up and showed their skills as leaders by putting on a program of this magnitude. They did an outstanding job, and we’ve received a lot of compliments on how they handled their roles,” he said.
“Having been a part of GPHC for approximately two decades, I can assure you this year’s conference was the finest I have attended,” wrote Eddie Weller, Distinguished Professor of History at San Jacinto College and District Honors Program Director in a letter after the conference.
“I think the attendees left with a new perspective on this area,” said Thanh Tsan, a junior mechanical engineering major from Orange.
Approximately 450 attendees from 46 institutions across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, gathered to share their academic achievements and learn from each other’s success at the 2017 conference.
About 50 Lamar University honors students volunteered their time by directing students and staff, leading excursions throughout the region, moderating oral presentations and ensuring that attendees were engaged.
“There was an awesome diversity of majors that let us connect with each other and still be able to learn a little bit about everything,” Tsan said.
The conference offered sections for student presentations, a meeting for administrators, two banquets, keynote speakers and a lunch at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum followed by excursions to explore the area. The last night included a blues guitarist and a student party.
“I enjoyed moderating the oral presentations,” said Tsan. “I had the chance to listen to presentations that gave me insight on areas that I never thought about.”
“It was incredible to be here at Lamar and meet so many students from various universities,” said Alexandra Ewy, a student from Emporia, Kansas. “I think the conference was extremely well organized. The presentations were very cohesive and meshed well together. I really enjoyed all of the presentations. One other thing I noticed through the conference is how ‘western’ Beaumont is, but also how the area boasts a lot of Cajun culture.”
This year’s conference theme was “Exploration through Honors.” Excursions featured local destinations like Shangri La, the W.H. Stark house, the McFaddin-Ward house, Cattail Marsh, downtown Beaumont and a tour with Neches River Adventures.
“The students were amazed at everything to do and see in the area. And of course the Reaud Honors College was the star of the show!” said Weller.
The Wayne A. Reaud Building is a part of the new entrance to the campus on the corner of Jim Gilligan Way and Rolfe Christopher Drive. The three-story building is a state-of-the-art facility serving the Reaud Honors College, university administration offices and Information Technology, Marketing and Institutional Research and Reporting.
The GPHC is a regional section of the National Collegiate Honors Council, which provides guidelines for all of the honors colleges and programs in the United States.
The Reaud Honors College furthers the goals and aspirations of Lamar’s high ability students within the university and community. It offers enriched classes in the core curriculum, upper-level interdisciplinary classes and seminars, advanced classes in many majors and opportunities for independent study, honors contracts and the Honors Thesis.The Reaud Honors College began in the ’60s with a handful of students and has since gained prestige on campus and college status with enrollment at around 300 students. Lamar University recently became the ninth to offer an honors college in Texas.