1963 William Hourigan is appointed the first Director of the Honors Program, the predecessor
to the Mahurin Honors College. Honors scholars are required to complete a Freshman
Honors Colloquium course.
Honors Program Begins
1970 The Student Research Conference provides opportunities for scholars to present their
research and creative endeavors to the WKU community. Learn more
Student Research Conference Begins
Paul Corts is appointed the second Director of the Honors Program
A graduate of Georgetown College and Indiana University, Dr. Corts was a faculty member and administrator at WKU from 1968 to 1978. He went on to serve at Oklahoma Baptist University, Wingate University, and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Later, Dr. Corts was Assistant Attorney General for Administration with the U.S. Department of Justice, then served as President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. He retired in 2012. (Photo credit: AGBSearch.com)
1973 The Student Honors Research Bulletin features articles written by undergraduates based
on original research projects and class papers.
Student Honors Research Bulletin First Published
1973High-achieving Kentucky high school seniors attend a residential summer program at
WKU, attending college courses and lectures. Sponsored by the Honors Program.
Junior Scholars Program Begins
1977 A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Dr. Robinson was a top-ranked student in
her undergraduate and graduate careers. She served as faculty and assistant dean of
the graduate school at WKU, becoming known for her tenacity and pioneer spirit. Later,
as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at WKU, Dr. Robinson was the highest-ranking
woman in college administration in the state. She retired in 1989.
A. Faye Robinson is appointed the third Director of the Honors Program
James Baker is appointed the fourth Director of the Honors Program.
A graduate of Baylor and Florida State Universities, Dr. Baker was a faculty member in the History department at WKU. He has authored over 22 books and 60 articles, and delivered papers in Italy, Korea, Taiwan, China, and other Asian countries. He also directed the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program.
1983 During the 1983-1984 academic year, Dr. Hoyt serves as Acting Director of the Honors
Program while Dr. Baker is on sabbatical.
Robert D. Hoyt serves as Acting Director
Sam McFarland is appointed the fifth Director of the Honors Program, which is renamed
the University Scholars Honors Program.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Dr. McFarland joined WKU in the fall of 1971 and taught at WKU until 2013. During his tenure as Director, Dr. McFarland began an honors seminar entitled Understanding Human Rights. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Former Soviet Union (1989) and named a WKU Distinguished University Professor (1999).
1990 Honors Day, the predecessor of High School Honors Luncheons, introduces top Kentucky
high school students to the University Scholars Honors Program.
Honors Day Begins for High School Students
1990 The KHR presents opportunities for Honors scholars from across Kentucky to present
their original research and projects.
Kentucky Honors Roundtable Begins
1992 The new curriculum includes a required 3 hours of Colloquium, 6-hour senior thesis,
and overall GPA of 3.4 to graduate. Students are also able to create honors augmentation
contracts in non-honors, upper-division courses.
21 Credit-Hour Honors Curriculum Implemented
1992 The Association provides parents and spouses with opportunities to support Honors
scholars’ research and activities.
Honors Parents’ Association Begins
1992 Specific floors of the hall are reserved for Honors scholars, helping to foster an
increased sense of community and collaboration. Learn more
Honors Housing is First Offered at Rodes-Harlin Hall.
1996 The new curriculum includes a 1-hour freshman orientation, 3 hours of Honors Colloquium,
and a required 6-hour senior thesis.
24 Credit Hour Honors Curriculum Implemented
1997Gary Wedding (BS, Environmental Health & Safety, 1999) is the first Honors scholar
to receive a Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
First Barry Goldwater Scholar
Doug McElroy is appointed the sixth Director of the University Honors Scholars Program
A graduate of Long Island University and the University of Maine, Dr. McElroy joined WKU in 1993 as a faculty member in the Department of Biology. He also served as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Nairobi, and conducts research on wildlife molecular forensics, population, and conservation genetics. He is currently a Professor and Associate Vice President for Academic Enrichment and Effectiveness at WKU.
1998 Located on the corner of 15th Avenue and State Street, the Honors Center provides
program offices, a computer lab, study and meeting space, and a thesis defense room
for the Honors Program.
Honors Center Established
1998 Dr. Patricia Minter is appointed as the first Assistant Director of the Honors Program.
Dr. Minter earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia, specializing in American
legal history and Civil Rights. She is an Associate Professor in WKU’s History Department,
and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Legal History and
the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. She has
also served on the WKU Faculty Senate (2000-01) and as Faculty Regent on the WKU Board
of Regents (2007-14).
First Assistant Director
1999 The Honors Program begins offering the Honors Development Grant, which provides funds
to scholars for thesis-related expenses, study abroad, and professional travel.
Honors Development Grants Established