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Reaud Honors College to host Great Plains Honors Council conference

Lamar University’s Reaud Honors College announced that it will host the annual Great Plains Honors Council (GPHC) conference March 31 to April 2 in its new home in the recently completed Wayne A. Reaud Building.

“It’s a great chance for Lamar to show itself off to the community. We have this huge development of a named honors college and this wonderful new facility donated by Wayne Reaud that lets us run all the functions. We’ve arrived on the scene as a major institution in honors education in this region,” said Kevin Dodson, dean of the Reaud Honors College.

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.

Members from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas will convene at LU this year to let students and faculty of the area meet and share their work.

“Every year, students are able to present what they’ve been working on. It’s a very student-friendly conference. It’s also great because administrators can communicate about issues and share their ideas,” Dodson said.

The conference will offer sections for student presentations, a meeting for administrators, banquets, keynote speakers, a student event, and a lunch at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum followed by excursions to explore the area.

This year the conference theme is “Exploration through Honors,” and excursions will include local destinations like Shangri La, the W.H. Stark house, the McFaddin-Ward house, a downtown tour, and a tour with the Neches River Adventures. Dodson anticipates that at least 400 members will attend.

“This will also be great for the local communities. We get to show off this southeast Texas, teach them about our culture, and bring in a lot interest for the area,” said Dodson.

As for the new building, Dodson calls it “new and fresh. It gives us a lot of rooms to run the presentations and it also gives us lounge space so in between activities people can sit around and chat.”

“In a lot of places, you have to tell people what you’ll be doing and make sure you have the equipment. We have everything here. All the rooms have the technology built in,” said Dodson.

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 as well as Information Technology, Marketing and Institutional Research and Reporting.

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.