History of the Honors College

Honors College 50th Anniversary Logo - The initial concept for our 50th anniversary logo was designed by Honors student Rebecca Bartlett, a Media and Entertainment major who will graduate in December 2023.

1973 Establishment of the Honors Program at MTSU, with Dr. June Hall McCash as Founding Director.
Office in the Drawing (now Jackson) Building.
1974 First Honors newsletter, Honors in Perspective, issued.
1975 First student graduates from the Honors Program.
1978 MTSU hosts second annual meeting of the Tennessee Honors Council.
1979 Honors College offices transferred to Peck Hall.
1980 A 24-hour Playathon held to raise funds.
Dr. Ron Messier named Director of the Honors Program.
1983 Honors self-study issued.
1990 Dr. John Paul Montgomery named Director of the University Honors Program.
1991 Establishment of Honors Lyceum.
1997 Wood and Felder Halls designated as Honors Living/Learning Centers.
1998 The Honors Program becomes the Honors College.
Dr. John Paul Montgomery, Director of the Honors Program since 1990, named Dean of the University Honors College.
2001 First Honors Program graduate and his brother commit to $2 million matching gift for the Honors Building.
2004 Paul W. Martin, Sr. Honors Building dedicated.
The Honors College assumes responsibility for literary magazine Collage.
Dr. Philip Mathis named Interim Dean of the University Honors College.
2005 Report on the Honors College, A Focus for the Future, issued.
The Undergraduate Fellowships Office (UFO) is established.
First speaker hosted for Paul W. Martin, Sr. Lecture Series.
Dr. Philip Mathis named Dean of the University Honors College.
Dr. Angela Hague named Interim Associate Dean.
2006 The Honors College hires first full-time associate dean, Dr. Scott Carnicom.
2007 The first incoming class of Buchanan Scholars accepted.
Honors student wins Goldwater Scholarship.
Board of Visitors established for the Honors College.
2008 Lyon Hall is refurbished and designated as the Honors Residence Hall.
MTSU hosts annual Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council meeting.
Dr. John Vile named Dean of the University Honors College.
2009 A Vision for the Future: Master Plan for the Honors College, 2009-2019 issued.
2010 Scientia becomes Scientia et Humanitas and is transferred to the Honors College.
Honors College establishes chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society.
MTSU Honors student named to USA Today All-Academic First Team.
Two students nominated through the Undergraduate Fellowships Office win Fulbright Awards.
2011 Two students nominated through the Undergraduate Fellowships Office win Fulbright Scholarships. 
Two students nominated through the Undergraduate Fellowships Office win Goldwater Scholarships.
College helps with publication of Time and Tradition: A Poetry Anthology, ed. by Phil Mathis.
Don and Carolyn Midgett announce the establishment of a Centennial Scholarship for an Honors Student.
College publishes first issue ot Scientia et Humanitas.
Dr. Scott Carnicom wins prestigious ACE award.
Dr. Philip Phillips named Interim Associate Dean.
Celal Asfar ("Uncle Celal") receives the first Distinguished Friend of the University Honors College Award.
 2012 Three students nominated through the Undergraduate Fellowships Office win Fulbright Scholarships.
One student nominated through the Undergratuate Fellowships Office wins a Goldwater Scholarship.
Honors Edition becomes Honors Magazine.
Collage wins the coveted Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) for the first time.
The MTSU Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa hosted the first annual "True Blue Leadership Day" at the Honors College. Honors Magazine tied for first place in the National Collegiate Honors Council's Newsletter Contest for 2012.
2013 The Chronicle of Higher Education lists MTSU as one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Students by type of institution for the 2012 academic year.
MTSU is among 17 schools listed in the master's institutions category and the only college or university from Tennessee listed in three categories altogether. One student receives a Goldwater Scholarship.
Collage: A Journal of Creative Expression wins the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's highest award, the Gold Crown Award, for an unprecedented second year in a row.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell receives the second Distinguished Friend of the University Honors College Award during National Women's History Month for exemplary service to the citizens of Tennessee.
Interim Associate Dean Philip Phillips participates in the Harvard University Graduate School of Education's Management Development Program (MDP) Class of 2013.
The University Honors College receives its largest gift to date--a bequest in the amount of 2.5 million dollars from the estate of Nobel Laureate and MTSU Alumnus Dr. James M. Buchanan--to support student scholarships and academic opportunities for honors students.
Dr. Drew Sieg (Biology) joins the University Honors College as its first Visiting Honors Scholar. The University Honors College welcomes its first class of Honors Transfer Fellows.
2014 Dr. Philip Phillips is named Associate Dean of the University Honors College. Two students win Fulbright Scholarships. Two students win Gilmnan Scholarships. Last Lecture Series featuring retiring Honors Faculty members established, with Dr. Bob Pondillo (Electronic Media) delivering the first "Last Lecture".

The student commons on first floor of the Honors building is named in honors of Dr. June Hall McCash.
Tandra Martin becomes the first MTSU student to be named a Rhodes Finalist.


The Honors College joins with the Jennings A. Jones College of Business to secure a grant to establish the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI).
Dr. Mary Evins, who heads the American Democracy Project, moves her operation from the Center for Historic Preservation to the University Honors College.


The completed bronze bust of Dr. James M. Buchanan is unveiled.
In light of increasing numbers of applicants, the Honors College doubles the incoming class of Honors Transfer Fellows from 15 to 30.
Laura Clippard is named MTSU Administrative Employee of the Year.


The University converts the Honors requirements into a minor.
The College has a special program in the Miller Education Center on Bell Street honoring the 50th anniversary of Collage: A Journal of Creative Expression
The spring issue of the Honors magazine is the first to be named AretĂ©, with an explanation that the Greek word was used to designate excellence and virtue.
The Honors College initiates its first group of Honors ambassadors


The Princeton Review names MTSU one of the nation’s best colleges.
Former Vice President Al Gore takes part in a panel sponsored by the American Democracy Project on the centennial of the adoption of the 19th Amendment prohibiting discrimination in voting on the basis of sex. 
The Jennings A. and Rebecca Jones Foundation grants the college $15,000 for each of three successive years to enhance the educational experiences of transfer students within the Honors College.


The Honors College tolls its bells 100 times to mark the anniversary of the 19th Amendment prohibiting discrimination against women in voting.


The Honors College awards the first Hanna Romans Witherspoon Endowed Scholarship.


MTSU Honors celebrates its 50th anniversary. Check out the video from 'Out of the Blue.'
The Honors College expanded the Buchanan Fellowship program to include Transfer Fellows.


The History of the Honors Program and College at MTSU 1973-2011 - Narration from Dr. June McCash