Brigham Young University. Honors Program

The Honors Program was established in 1960 by President Ernest L. Wilkinson with student membership on an invitation basis. In 1983, the program was opened to the general student body. The following individuals have directed or supervised the program: Robert K. Thomas (1960-1968), Richard D. Poll (1968-1970), C. Terry Warner (1970-1975), Thomas F. Rogers (1975-1978), Reba L. Keele (1978-1979), Gary L. Browning (1979-1981, 1982-1983), Karen Lynn (1981-1982), De Lamar Jensen (1983-1986), Thomas Matheson (1986-1988), Alan F. Keele (1988-1993), James Faulconer (1994-1995), Susan Easton Black (1995-1998), Daniel Fairbanks (1998-1999), K. Newell Dayley (2000), J. Scott Miller (2000-2007), Madison U. Sowell (2007-2009), Gary L. Hatch (2009-2010), Rory Scanlon (2010-2012), and Joseph Parry (2012- ).

Variant names

Brigham Young University. University Honors Program.

Brigham Young University. College of General Studies. University Honors Program


Established: 1960

Location: Provo, Utah (1960- )


From its inception, the Honors Program has existed to provide a rich and challenging university education to broaden and enrich undergraduate students’ educational horizons. The Honors Program facilitates this by aiding capable and motivated students in establishing methods of learning and appreciation of the cultural heritage of the world that are meant to last a lifetime. Honors education provides not simply a more intensive general education or major program but an overall enriched education. The program stresses critical thinking and writing, as well as an interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate education.

Assets and Administrative Structure

The Honors Program functioned first under a director directly responsible to the university; the director then reported to the Dean of the College of General Studies from 1973 until 1979. From 1979 to 1983, the Honors Program reverted to its earlier administrative structure of a director reporting to the University, and in 1982 the program came under the supervision of a dedicated deanship, created to accommodate the opening of Honors Program enrollment. Beginning in 1986, the Dean of Honors Education was given responsibility for general education and the General Education and Honors department was born. The Honors Program itself then began to be administered by various associate deans dedicated to Honors, and continues to be. The associate deans reported to the Dean of General Education and Honors and now report to that position’s successor, the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Associated Units

Superior unit: Brigham Young University (1960-1973)

Superior unit: Brigham Young University. College of General Studies (1973-1979)

Superior unit: Brigham Young University (1979-1982)

Superior unit: Brigham Young University. University Honors Education (1982-1986)

Superior unit: Brigham Young University. General Education and Honors (1986-2002)

Superior unit: Brigham Young University. Undergraduate Education (2002- )

Associated Archival Materials

College of Undergraduate Education records, 1960-2000 (UA 1205)

The Honors Program At Brigham Young University, 1960-1985 (LD 571 .B67gb P64x 1985)


Brigham Young University Annual Catalog 1960-1961: p. 70-71 (Robert K. Thomas, director; established in 1960 for first time separate and complete; honors work integrated into various colleges; accepts qualified students based on recommendations, testing and screening from high school and elsewhere; General Education requirements waived and replaced)

Brigham Young University Annual Catalog 1968-1970: p. 45 (Richard D. Poll, associate director)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1970-1972: p. 43 (C. Terry Warner, director)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1973-1974: p. 38 (first year listed as part of the College of General Studies)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1975-1976: p. 152 (Thomas F. Rogers, director)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1978-1979: p. 17 (last year listed as being part of the College of General Studies), p. 167 (Reba L. Keele, director)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1979-1980: p. 150 (Gary L. Browning, director)

Brigham Young University General Catalog 1983-1984: p. 29 (Dean, De Lamar Jensen)

Brigham Young University 1989-1990 General Catalogue: p. 15 (Honors Departmental courses view their subjects in relationships that transcend the limitations of the traditional major and stress critical and analytical thinking and writing)

Brigham Young University 1992-1993 General Catalogue, p. 14 (University Honors with Honors in a major option for first time: certain departments have established Honors majors that build on the foundation of the Honors requirements in GE; additional option of meeting requirements to graduate with Honors in [major]; not possible to graduate with Honors in a major and not with University Honors, but it is possible vice-versa)

Brigham Young University 2002-2003 Undergraduate Catalog: p. 59 (General Education and Honors changed to Undergraduate Education; J. Scott Miller, Associate Dean-Honors)

Brigham Young University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog: p. 79 (Madison U. Sowell, Associate Dean-Honors), p. 207 (Sowell, Associate Dean-Honors/Honors Program Director)

Brigham Young University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog WWW Site, Jan. 19, 2010: Honors Program page (provides an unusually rich and challenging experience for capable and motivated undergraduate students; purpose is to assist students as they establish lifelong patterns of learning and appreciation of the world's great treasures of knowledge; Honors education is not merely a more intensive general education or a more strenuous program in a major but an enriched education)

Brigham Young University Daily Universe WWW Site, Feb. 18, 2010: “Associate dean named” (Rory Scanlon appointed associate dean and Honors Program director)

Brigham Young University Undergraduate Education WWW Site, Jan. 12, 2010: Contact page (Associate Dean also director of Honors Program [Gary L. Hatch])

Campus Memorandum, 17 June 1981: p. 2 (Karen Lynn, Honors Program Director 1981-1982)

Guide: Brigham Young University Honors Program, 1982-83: p. 4 (requirements: six or more Honors seminars OR combination of colloquium and seminars outside of major area; 3.5 GPA; learn foreign language up to GE category III; mathematics proficiency to same level; Honors Thesis; read Honors Undergraduate Reading List; apply for Honors designation); p. 7 (“An Honors Thesis is a significant, student-initiated research project in your major field, usually undertaken in the junior or senior year. You will work closely with an approved adviser who is a member of the Graduate Faculty and who is qualified to direct your Honors Thesis”)

Kristen Morris, History of the Brigham Young University Honors Program: 1978-2001: The Building and Restructuring of an Honors Program: p. 13 (1972, Paraprofessional Experience changed to ILE); p. 26 (Honors Program moved to Grant Building in 1981 until Maeser building renovated; Honors becomes open program in 1983); p. 34 (first Honors majors began in 1990—track within major in addition to University Honors distinction; Senior Thesis completed within major); p. 35 (1988-1989 school year saw revision of Masterworks list/Honors Reading list—expanded to include art and music); p. 45 (Honors and GE established Pre-Law Advisement Center in August 1990; placed under Student Life in May 1998); p. 48 (James E. Faulconer revises Masterworks List to Great Works List circa 1994); p. 59 (Honors major distinction eliminated in 1998 since not university-uniform, and leveled designations also revoked); p. 66 (ILEs/University Scholar projects eliminated in favor of Honors Theses in 1981, same time as Masterworks [later Great Works] List); p. 93-95 (De Lamar Jensen, 1983-1986; Thomas Matheson, 1986-1988; Alan F. Keele, 1988-1993; James Faulconer, 1994-1995; Susan Easton Black, 1995-1998; Daniel Fairbanks, 1998-1999; K. Newell Dayley, 2000; J. Scott Miller, 2002- )

Richard D. Poll, History of the Honors Program: p.1 (President Ernest L. Wilkinson announces creation of Honors Program for “superior students” beginning fall 1960); p. 3 (students originally recruited by Honors Program); p. 4 (three specific guidelines—waiving of prerequisites, interdisciplinary approach, independent research: “discover able student and stimulate him to make the most of his ability”; administration of Program consisted of director and an executive committee of faculty members); p. 5 (students admitted based on ACT/entrance exams, aptitude tests, personal interview, high school transcript, written recommendations; students planned GE courses with advisers instead of following general requirements, as well as planning their own major requirements); p. 11 (official open house for Honors Center December 16, 1964); p. 37 (paraprofessional experience changed to Independent Learning Experience [ILE], reflecting flexibility of the program); p. 39 (Dr. Warner [April 1972] became Dean of College of General Studies [change from General College to College of General Studies]; Honors Program transferred to College of General Studies, previously independent program)

Honors Program Presentation for Scholars Conferences: p. 2 (ILE [Independent Learning Experience], “significant research and writing endeavor usually undertaken in the junior or senior year and executed with a high degree of individual imagination, initiative, and independence”); p. 3 (Honors, High Honors or Highest Honors [depending on merit])

University Honors Program: p. 1 (“Beginning in the Fall of 1983 the University Honors Program will undergo a major change. Formal membership will be discontinued . . . [Honors] addresses the needs of students who are of high academic potential, motivation, initiative, and commitment to exploration and excellence. It serves those who are devoted to sincere intellectual inquiry and are stimulated by challenges that go beyond minimum requirements”)

University Honors Program: Self-Evaluation Report, 24 May 1985: p. 1(“The purpose of the Honors Program is to provide an enriched general education experience for students who are academically successful, motivated, and committed to excellence and exploration. The Program aims to assist students in becoming more capable, understanding, and compassionate human beings. The end goal is the realization of each student’s full potential: developing a God-like character and intelligence”; “provided with a solid general education in the areas of arts and letters, sciences, and social sciences”)

Brigham Young University website, via WWW, May 6, 2014 (Joseph Parry appointed as director of Honors Program, effective May 1, 2012)

Maintenance Information

Record ID: EAC-2009-00553

LCCN: n 96042042

Creator: CEM