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Mahurin Honors College at WKU






Honors Program Begins

William Hourigan is appointed the first Director of the Honors Program, the predecessor to the Mahurin Honors College. Honors scholars are required to complete a Freshman Honors Colloquium course.


Student Research Conference Begins

The Student Research Conference provides opportunities for scholars to present their research and creative endeavors to the WKU community. Learn more


Paul Corts is appointed the second Director of the Honors Program

paul corts A graduate of Georgetown College and Indiana University, Dr. Corts was a faculty member and administrator at WKU from 1968 to 1978. He went on to serve at Oklahoma Baptist University, Wingate University, and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Later, Dr. Corts was Assistant Attorney General for Administration with the U.S. Department of Justice, then served as President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. He retired in 2012. (Photo credit:


Student Honors Research Bulletin First Published

The Student Honors Research Bulletin features articles written by undergraduates based on original research projects and class papers.


Junior Scholars Program Begins

High-achieving Kentucky high school seniors attend a residential summer program at WKU, attending college courses and lectures. Sponsored by the Honors Program.


A. Faye Robinson is appointed the third Director of the Honors Program

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Dr. Robinson was a top-ranked student in her undergraduate and graduate careers. She served as faculty and assistant dean of the graduate school at WKU, becoming known for her tenacity and pioneer spirit. Later, as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at WKU, Dr. Robinson was the highest-ranking woman in college administration in the state. She retired in 1989.


James Baker is appointed the fourth Director of the Honors Program.

BakerA graduate of Baylor and Florida State Universities, Dr. Baker was a faculty member in the History department at WKU. He has authored over 22 books and 60 articles, and delivered papers in Italy, Korea, Taiwan, China, and other Asian countries. He also directed the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program.


Robert D. Hoyt serves as Acting Director

During the 1983-1984 academic year, Dr. Hoyt serves as Acting Director of the Honors Program while Dr. Baker is on sabbatical.


Sam McFarland is appointed the fifth Director of the Honors Program, which is renamed the University Scholars Honors Program.

samA graduate of Vanderbilt University, Dr. McFarland joined WKU in the fall of 1971 and taught at WKU until 2013. During his tenure as Director, Dr. McFarland began an honors seminar entitled Understanding Human Rights. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Former Soviet Union (1989) and named a WKU Distinguished University Professor (1999).


Honors Day Begins for High School Students

Honors Day, the predecessor of High School Honors Luncheons, introduces top Kentucky high school students to the University Scholars Honors Program.


Kentucky Honors Roundtable Begins

The KHR presents opportunities for Honors scholars from across Kentucky to present their original research and projects.


21 Credit-Hour Honors Curriculum Implemented

The new curriculum includes a required 3 hours of Colloquium, 6-hour senior thesis, and overall GPA of 3.4 to graduate. Students are also able to create honors augmentation contracts in non-honors, upper-division courses.


Honors Parents’ Association Begins

The Association provides parents and spouses with opportunities to support Honors scholars’ research and activities.


Honors Housing is First Offered at Rodes-Harlin Hall.

Specific floors of the hall are reserved for Honors scholars, helping to foster an increased sense of community and collaboration. Learn more


24 Credit Hour Honors Curriculum Implemented

The new curriculum includes a 1-hour freshman orientation, 3 hours of Honors Colloquium, and a required 6-hour senior thesis.


First Barry Goldwater Scholar

Gary Wedding (BS, Environmental Health & Safety, 1999) is the first Honors scholar to receive a Barry Goldwater Scholarship.


Doug McElroy is appointed the sixth Director of the University Honors Scholars Program

dougA graduate of Long Island University and the University of Maine, Dr. McElroy joined WKU in 1993 as a faculty member in the Department of Biology. He also served as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Nairobi, and conducts research on wildlife molecular forensics, population, and conservation genetics. He is currently a Professor and Associate Vice President for Academic Enrichment and Effectiveness at WKU.


Honors Center Established

Located on the corner of 15th Avenue and State Street, the Honors Center provides program offices, a computer lab, study and meeting space, and a thesis defense room for the Honors Program.


First Assistant Director

Dr. Patricia Minter is appointed as the first Assistant Director of the Honors Program. Dr. Minter earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia, specializing in American legal history and Civil Rights. She is an Associate Professor in WKU’s History Department, and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Legal History and the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. She has also served on the WKU Faculty Senate (2000-01) and as Faculty Regent on the WKU Board of Regents (2007-14).


Honors Development Grants Established

The Honors Program begins offering the Honors Development Grant, which provides funds to scholars for thesis-related expenses, study abroad, and professional travel.

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 Last Modified 4/12/17