Honors College History

The Eastern Michigan University Honors Program was founded in 1984 in order to recruit, retain, and reward academically talented students. Under the leadership of Dr. William Miller and Dr. Robert Holkeboer, the founding director, the Honors Program grew into a valued opportunity for EMU students. In 2005, under the leadership of Dr. James Knapp, the Honors Program became the University Honors College (UHC). It was later renamed The Honors College.

The Honors College celebrated its 30th birthday in 2014. Though much has changed over its history, it still strives to provide an enriched educational experience for its members and helps to prepare them for their desired future.

Over 120 Honors sections are offered each year in General Education, major, and minor courses. The Honors College services more than 1,000 members from across all of the university's colleges and academic departments. It takes pride in its diverse and academically outstanding student body!

The staff and faculty strive to provide the highest quality education within a large comprehensive university. We invite new and transfer students to come join us as we soar higher!

Honors College Leadership

  • Dr. Robert Holkeboer, Director, 1984-1992
  • Dr. William Miller, Director, 1992-2002
  • Dr. James Knapp, Director, 2004-2010
  • Dr. Rebecca Sipe, Assistant Vice President, 2010-2017
  • Dr. Mary Ramsey, Interim Assistant Vice President, 2017-2019
  • Dr. Ann Eisenberg, Dean, 2019-present

The Honors College Building 

In January of 2016, The Honors College relocated to 511 W. Forest Ave. 

The Board of Regents approved the purchase of Holy Trinity Chapel to be used by The Honors College program. The purchase, which cost $940,000, speaks to EMU’s commitment to investing in student success.

“This is an outstanding property and is in excellent condition for transformation to The Honors College,” Kim Schatzel, interim president, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs said in a statement. “Closing on this property reflects the University’s overall strategy to raise our academic profile, along with our continued efforts to enhance academic facilities across campus.”

Now, the size of The Honors College facility matches the growing number of students enrolled in the program. Rebecca Sipe, director of The Honors College, said the space factor is the biggest benefit. The program expanded from an 8,000 to a 21,000 square foot building.

“We will have places for multiple things to happen at one time, independently,” Sipe said.

The facility has the ability to accommodate classes, workshops, meetings, recitals and luncheons simultaneously. In addition to housing The Honors College, the new building serves many other Departments, including The School of Music and Dance and the Theater department.

The Honors College is now also more accommodating to students. Students living on and off campus will have a quiet place to study and relax.

“We will be able to honor the needs of the students who come to us,” Sipe said.

The center will also give The Honors College the opportunity to become an even more integral part of the university.

“The Honors College is here to serve the university,” Sipe said. “It’s here as a source of innovation. It is here as a center for diversity. Those are things we’re going to carry with us. Now we’ll just have more space and the ability to bring it all to fruition.”

Homes of The Honors College

  • Inception-2002: Jones and Goddard Hall
  • 2002-2007: Wise Hall 
  • 2007-2016: Starkweather Hall
  • Present: The Honors College at 511 W. Forest

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