New lounge will help Newman honors program grow

May 09, 2019
honors lounge

The Newman University honors program is getting a new space to call their own.

Kelly McFall, professor of history and chair of the Division of Humanities, said the new Honors Lounge will be a space in which the honors program will be able to grow. Honors students can get together to study, hang out, have events, welcome guest speakers, talk to prospective students who are visiting campus, meet with alumni and more.

“It’s been a dream for a while,” explained McFall. “We’ve been working with a special committee to identify a space that made sense.”

McFall said the new lounge will be in Sacred Heart Hall on the third floor. The space is a former classroom that is not used as often because of the new Bishop Gerber Science Center, he said.

A classroom in Sacred Heart Hall will be turned into the new Honors Lounge.

He added that the students in the program are planning on painting the space, creating a wall that can be used for signatures of every graduating class of honors students for years to come.

He and the students in the program said they are looking forward to having a place to call their own.

“We are working to get more comfortable furniture established. We want it to be a comfortable space where students will hang out, hopefully have access to a coffee maker and similar things.”

McFall said the honors alumni book club, a group that has existed for about a year, will also possibly be held there. The small group of alumni gather quarterly to discuss a shared reading experience but usually do so off campus.

“My hope is this will be space we can use for the alumni book club. I’d like to get alumni back on campus, especially to talk with current students, and get them connected,” said McFall, adding that he’d like honors alumni to use the lounge for other events too.

The honors program has existed since 2008 and currently consists of approximately 70 students with 11 seniors graduating. The program also welcomes 20-25 new students each year, which shows a good growth trend.

The 2018-19 honors program senior class.
(l to r) Back row: Madison McCollum, John DeGraffenreid, Anthony Navarrate and Kevin Nguyen. Front row: Linnea Ristow, Annie Dang and Sara Crook. (not pictured: Khoi Nguyen & Anna Dinh)

“What excited me about seeing the Honors Lounge idea come to fruition is that the provost and others have been excited to provide opportunities for honors students. They see it as a way to live out our mission of transforming society.

“What an exciting way to show gratitude toward these students who are achieving great things and who will be going out and changing the world.”