Honors Program

What’s so great about the George Fox Honors Program? Let us count the ways!

Academics

When I was a high school senior, trying to decide where I wanted to attend college, the uniqueness of the George Fox Honors Program caught my eye. Between the student-to-teacher ratio, textbook selection and program values, I was hooked. The program offers a unique learning experience in comparison to a traditional undergraduate route and a potentially life-changing experience for those who join.

George Fox’s Honors Program is a Great Books program that is rooted in Christ, leading undergraduate students through a four-year journey through Ancient Mesopotamia and Rome, the Medieval Era, the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and into the 19th and 20th centuries. Students read 15 texts on average each semester and then discuss the questions and theories that arise in seminars with their professors and peers twice weekly. As challenging as the reading requirements can be, every single text has shaped my soul as well as my mind. 

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The Socratic seminars members of the program participate in is an alternative to the traditional general education requirement for undergraduate students at Fox. The Socratic seminar model is extremely beneficial compared to a traditional lecture process in that it’s a hands-on learning process where students and professors lead class discussions together.

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Being able to struggle through challenging questions, compared to being automatically taught the answers, provides students in the program with an opportunity to grow their ability to think critically and charitably with authors’ beliefs. Professors in the program work with students hand in hand to answer questions, reminding us of the charity we need to have with authors, along with each other and ourselves, as we work through complex texts.

One of my favorite authors that I read during my four years in the program was Saint Thomas Aquinas. Due to having many bits and pieces of his writing selected for the class, the program commissioned monks at a local abbey to make specialized books for us from scratch! Not only was the theology of Aquinas brilliant, but having a unique copy of his texts in my book collection forever is something that I will always cherish. This is just one of the ways the program does a great job at providing an intentional “Be Known” experience for each of its students.

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Members take one honors class each semester for six credits, along with their specific major requirements, and can take a semester off their junior year to either take an increase in elective courses or study abroad

I was able to study abroad in Rome, Italy, the fall semester of my junior year, and visit the birthplaces of many of our authors: Machiavelli, Dante, and many theologians. Being able to walk the same streets as many of our authors and connect their words to my own story was a life-changing experience. While studying abroad anywhere in the world is an amazing opportunity, I can’t help but be partial to Rome!

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Photo by Nathan Reichlin

 

Honors Program students also have the opportunity to grow as a community by having small class sizes with a cohesive cohort of classmates throughout all four years. With many events outside of the classroom as well, such as Honors Forums where a panel of professors discuss topics and answer students’ questions, students have the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with peers and professors alike. My best friends and roommates are those that I met through the Honors Program!

My favorite aspect about forums is the ability to ask hard-to-answer questions. During our forum regarding the differing Christian theological perspectives of hell, students were given a chance to charitably challenge their understanding and grow closer in their relationships with Christ and each other by being given the space to ask hard questions. 

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As I reflect on the past four years as a senior member of the Honors Program, I am full of gratefulness. While George Fox in its entirety has blessed me with great opportunities and relationships, the Honors Program has been the cornerstone of my experience. In and out of seminar, the assigned reading has shaped who I am and provided me with long-lasting friendships with both professors and peers. 

An education from the George Fox Honors Program is both a unique and fruitful experience for students looking to push their intellectual limits while being supported by talented professors and peers. To learn more about the Honors Program, including the application process, click the button below!

Check Out the Honors Program

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Anna Gallahger

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Anna is from Spokane, Washington, and is a senior communication major and member of the George Fox Honors Program. She has a passion for the history of tattoos and spends most of her free time thrift and vintage shopping. She is a regular at See See Motor Coffee here in Newberg and loves to order their cold brew topped with whipped cream.

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