After essays, interviews, careful consideration and eventually acceptance, 14 members of Regent University’s first Honors Class in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) met one another on Move-In Day, Monday, August 15. They’ll be journeying together through a rigorous academic program that will teach them in the tradition of great questions, great books, applied thinking and the Christian liberal arts.
“We were looking for a number of things, including academic gravitas,” said Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and CAS dean. “These students, with their SAT and ACT scores, represent even higher achievements than Ivy League schools across the country. They’re a very talented group of people. We have accomplished musicians, students in the national math honors society and students who have worked at Duke in sociology and have been a part of significant robotics competitions.”
“I am thrilled to be here among like-minded peers,” said Hannah Lillemo, a freshman in the new Honors Program. “I’m ready to study and challenge others’ opinions, debate, and have great discussions with professors and students.”
CAS professors, as well as some professors from Regent’s graduate schools, will teach the core curriculum, which is separate from the usual general education courses. Students will be matched to mentors and receive leadership training. The goal is to equip students to address key issues in their culture and make an impact beyond graduation, which is a desire on the hearts of the students in the program.
“I hope to gain a solid foundation where I can understand the information I’m dealing with and also the culture so I can go out and make films that really penetrate the heart of the culture, that would sway it back toward Christ,” said freshman Luke Isbell. “I’m excited about the honors program because I believe the information we’re going to be delving into is going to help me excel.”
Leading the charge to these students was Regent’s founder and chancellor, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. He addressed students and their families, stressing the importance of Regent University’s mission to train Christian leaders who change the world. And while the new honors program stresses excellence and achievement, Moreno-Riaño says ultimately, it’s through humility that students will succeed.
“Be lovers of God, know Him, love Him deeply, and then pursue rigorous inquiry of all He has created. If they do that fully and completely, they will be very difficult to stop,” said Moreno-Riaño.