Southern Scholars

The Southern Scholars in president David Smith's office. President Smith is wearing an honors medallion

Graduating senior and four-year honors student Michael gives us his take on the Southern Scholars honors program.

Why did you decide to join the honors program?

I didn’t know the Honors program existed until two days before the application deadline for my Freshman year. I was here for SmartStart, and at one of the meetings Dr. Peach (the honors program director) got up and gave a talk about the honors program. I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting.” That night I went online, filled out the application and wrote the essays, and sent it in.

In high school I had done all of the honors classes because I wanted an extra challenge. That’s why I applied, and, honestly, it’s been such a crucial part of my college experience. It’s been fantastic. The Southern Connections* class we had as Southern Scholars was fantastic. The friends I made in that Connections class are ones I still have to this day. The community is probably the biggest thing, along with the experiences it provides me. I’ve been on so many trips with the honors program! Those experiences are part of how I define my college experience as a whole. If I didn’t have them, I feel like it would have been diluted, in a way.

How has being in the program impacted your college experience?

I’ve been able to take classes that I wouldn’t typically have to take. For example, I took a C.S. Lewis literature class, and that was fantastic. That was a lot of fun. Then there’s Arts and Ideas. That was a hard class, probably one of the hardest classes I took in college, and I took it freshman year! But, it’s one that I look back on all the time. It was really a fantastic class.

Who would you recommend the honors program to?

If you’re wanting to get as holistic of an experience in college as you can, I definitely recommend it. It’s not something that monopolizes your time at all. As part of Scholars, I was also part of three clubs on campus, SA, choirs, all those kinds of stuff. It’s not like I have to think, “Oh, I’m in Scholars, I can’t do this.” In a way, it’s like a foundation for all of the other things you are able to do.

I think anyone who wants to engage in a community of like-minded people who love learning and are excited about new things should really look into joining the honors program. They provide scholarship opportunities, but also so much more than that. Honors is like a platform that is there to enable you to do whatever you want in college. I’m glad I was able to take full advantage of it. I was able to do Partners in the Parks* twice and engage in the senior project* process. It can be a lot of fun if you really let it.

Learn more

The Southern Scholars honors program brings curious minds together. If you’re interested in learning more about the program and scholarship opportunities, follow this link for prospective students. You can also see if you are eligible and fill out the application right here.

Southern Scholars terms explained

*Southern Connections: A class to help orient freshmen for college life. Usually students are in this class with the other incoming freshmen from their major, but freshman Southern Scholars had their Connections class together instead. That is changing, and the program is working on an evening seminar for freshmen that will allow them to have Connections with their major.

*Partners in the Parks: A program run by the National Collegiate Honors Council that brings honors students together to tour a U.S. national park.

*Senior project: Graduating honors seniors create a final research project or creative work that relates to their major. This is a requirement to graduate, and they present it to the rest of the honors students.

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Michael Ciurea and Suny Gomez Story by Michael Ciurea and Suny Gomez Published: Last Edited:

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