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Tennessee's Largest Honors Program Receives Top Designation

February 10, 2017 - The Helen Hardin Honors Program at the University of Memphis has received approval for designation as an Honors College. With the elevation to college status, the Helen Hardin Honors College will become the largest honors college in Tennessee. The newly designated Honors College will continue to attract high-achieving students throughout the state and beyond by creating an environment that provides intellectual challenge and scholarly exploration.

"Nowhere else in the state will top academic performers find a richer, more diverse experience than the Helen Hardin Honors Program at the UofM. This designation will further distinguish us as a University where rich educational opportunities flourish," said UofM President M. David Rudd.

While the honors program has been in existence for more than four decades, in 2008 it was renamed the Helen Hardin Honors Program in recognition of a significant gift from Helen Hardin, a local philanthropist and co-founder of Hardin-Sysco. Under the leadership of Dr. Melinda Jones, the program has been recognized for its enriched curriculum, smaller classes and opportunities beyond the classroom such as Study Abroad, independent research and internships.

The Honors Program has a strong reputation for attracting the brightest students, which includes more than 2,000 undergraduates from all departments and majors at the UofM and approximately 500 freshmen who enter the program each year. The quality of the student body is evidenced by the mean high school grade point average and ACT of the 2016 entering class (3.90 GPA/28 ACT). Once enrolled, honors students are committed to a curriculum that includes at least 25 hours of honors courses out of the 120 hours typically required for graduation. Following graduation, many of the students enter top graduate and professional programs.

The Helen Hardin Honors Program has a designated building, Honors Hall, which houses the administrative offices, reading and study lounges, a classroom and a computer lab for students. The program also has a designated residential facility, the Living Learning Complex, which serves more than 250 students. Additionally, the Honors Program serves as the administrative office that coordinates undergraduate research on campus, and faculty and students affiliated with the program publish the UofM's undergraduate research journal, QuaesitUM (Latin for "to seek, to inquire").

Due to the success and national recognition of the Helen Hardin Honors Program, the University of Memphis was selected to host the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, which is expected to attract more than 4,200 undergraduate students and their faculty mentors to Memphis April 6-8.

Contact: Jamel Major