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Why should you choose the Honors Program at SIUE?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • Do you know?
  • Are you sure? 
  • Do you want to find out?

My guess is if you are honest with yourself, you're not sure but you want to try and find out. If you do, the Honors Program at SIUE is the place for you! 

This program will take you on journey—a journey into what Joseph Campbell in his 1949 masterpiece, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, called “the crucial mystery”—yourselves, your humanity. 

If you are thinking about attending a university and contemplating pursuing an an honors program, we know you are an ambitious student and we welcome you! We're ready to respond to your ambition by testing and challenging you, which will help transform your ambition into excellence. 

You may ask, how do we define excellence?

One way to think about excellence is to think about the capacity to organize and integrate your life around the pursuit of meaningful and achievable goals. First, you must set your sights beyond what you already can do or know or have. Our program will nurture your capacity to raise your eyes beyond your immediate horizons and inspire you to seek. In other words, no matter how much you think you know, we will make you ask questions and seek out answers about the world around you. No project or achievement—whether it is starting a business, becoming a Marine, sending a spacecraft to Pluto, or undertaking the commitment to make a family with a partner—is possible without wonder. 

But, wonder alone is not enough. Wonder needs to meet some form of resistance. Challenge is the crucible in which wonder and ambition are transmuted into ability and excellence. From your first day at SIUE, to your culminating senior project, this program will provide a set of challenging experiences both inside the classroom and out, in which you will have to overcome challenges. And, in overcoming those challenges, whether they be improving your ability to speak, to write, to make connections, to create, or to engage in a reasoned argument, your wonder will be transfigured into persistence, grit and a heightened ability to overcome all that may come your way.

Make no mistake, sometimes you will fail. But, the Honors Program at SIUE will teach you how to harness your failures and turn them into successes. Instead of teaching you to fear failure, we will help you see failure as a useful lens to focus your attention on setting limits, and then overcoming them. By experiencing success and failure, both your ambition and humility will grow. By experiencing success and failure, you will recognize that everyone around you, including your friends, family and professors, have all failed and at times have been broken in some way. Your capacity to sympathize with others will grow, as will your recognition that in order to sustain and extend the heritage we receive from our ancestors, we must work together. 

Honors at SIUE will help you realize that hope grows out of communities of humans working together, assisting each other and compensating for each of our flaws.  And, when you leave the Honors program to continue on to the next phase of your journey, you will have achieved excellence and you can carry that into your personal, professional and public lives.

We hope you decide to join us on this journey.

Eric W. Ruckh, PhD
Honors Program Director
Associate Professor of History

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