A Welcoming Community

A hallmark of the William Penn Honors Program is our vibrant, close-knit community life.

The Honors environment facilitates deep relationships built on common respect, humility, and love. Beyond the classroom, we care deeply about our students and seek to promote their spiritual and social growth. It is our hope that every student has the opportunity to experience true fellowship and community during their time in our program.

Orientation 2019

Orientation Retreat

Each year, our incoming freshman class moves onto campus early in order to attend Honors Orientation. This multi-day retreat prepares students both socially and academically for their first semester through structured faculty lectures, unstructured free time, and communal worship and reflection. The program directors, staff, and core faculty also attend this retreat, breaking down some of the typical barriers that prevent students from being known by their professors.

The Orientation Retreat sets the tone for student engagement, and is followed by many events and opportunities for students stay connected to both the program and each other.

students at the spiritual retreat

Spiritual Retreat

The honors program organizes an annual Spiritual Retreat to help students rest, form friendships, and grow in faith together.

Past retreats have been held at Camp Cascade in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Twin Rocks on the beautiful Oregon Coast, and Mount Angel Abbey in the Willamette Valley. Each retreat invites students into spiritual reflection on a chosen theme. Past themes include Sabbath, Church, and the tension between Faith and Doubt.



PhTea is a brief, program-wide weekly touchpoint hosted in the Pennington House.

Faculty and students mingle and socialize over tea and coffee, hear important program announcements, and read a poem aloud. This provides additional ways for students to connect with other classes and cohorts, as well as interact with faculty outside of the seminar room.

Students listening intently

Penn Forum

Penn Forum is an evening event that gathers the entire honors community together for social and spiritual edification.

Some forums are oriented towards student integration across the different years and majors. Other forums provide space for faculty lectures or panels on themes of personal and spiritual formation.Every forum includes communal worship, prayer, and fellowship. These events help students connect their seminar discussions to their own personal questions, ideas, and concerns. Previous forums have explored faculty faith stories, "hot button" sociocultural topics, and student-submitted questions on Christian theology and practice.

Student Leadership Opportunities

While all honors students are encouraged to participate in leadership roles across campus, the honors program offers some specific opportunities for student leadership development:

Interns 2019

Honors Interns

2019-20 interns: Paul Schroeder, Lydia Taw, Claire Pierce, Cara Vincent

The primary role of the honors intern is to serve as an ambassador for the program and connect with prospective students who visit campus. Interns work closely with faculty and program directors on a range of tasks, including office administration, marketing, recruitment and event planning.

In addition to their responsibilities, interns are given opportunities to reflect upon leadership through discussion and mentorship with the associate director. Most interns are involved juniors or seniors with good academic standing and strong communication skills.



Honors Peer Advisors

2019 Peer Advisors: Ben Drury, Kimberly Horton, Emma Hodges, Ivette Uribe, Elizabeth Hudgens, Mark Giese

Honors peer advisors are returning honors students with a heart for helping freshman students adjust to college life. PAs act as mentors and friends for honors freshman, coaching them in effective study habits and engaging with each student through their first semester.

PAs are present to incoming students from the moment they arrive on campus, even attending the honors orientation trip. They also facilitate honors break-out sessions during the Fall semester and coordinate one-on-one check-ins with every new student. Typically, Honors PAs are sophomores and juniors who have valuable life lessons to share from their own freshman experiences.


Student Govt 2019

Honors Student Government

2019-20 Student Government: Tyndal Longstroth (VP of Outreach), Madeleine Teel (VP of Social Gatherings), Grant More (VP of Finance)

The Honors Student Government was created by students, for students, as a means of maintaining program connection and engagement. Each year, officers are elected by the student body to serve three roles:

  • VP of Outreach: promotes program connection to the greater George Fox student body
  • VP of Social Gatherings: organizes events to encourage program community
  • VP of Finance: maintains a budget and approves student project or event funding requests

Student Government brings the honors community together in unique ways, including traditional events like the "Homerathon," a 26.2-hour seminar open to all students and faculty on great works within and outside of the honors curriculum.