Honors College celebrates move, looks at memories

Elise Franco

Brandon Tidd, broadcast journalism alumnus, attempts to find items during a scavenger hunt during a farewell to the old Honors residence halls yesterday afternoon. ALLIEY BENDER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Kent State students aren’t the only ones who can call Van Campen Hall home. When President Carol Cartwright came to the university, she, too, lived in the hall.

When Cartwright became president at Kent State, Van Campen was her sanctuary from red-eye flights from California and piles of work until she found a home in Ohio.

“The Honors College has been at the top of the list of points of pride in the university,” she said. ” I will continue to brag about Honors.”

Cartwright said to look back on the old Honors College with nostalgia but also look forward with anticipation at the great opportunities the new college will bring.

Faculty, students and alumni celebrated the end of the Honors College’s housing in Van Campen yesterday afternoon in the Oak Gallery in Van Campen Hall at a farewell to the Honors Plaza program. The college will make the move to the newly renovated Stopher-Johnson Hall in Fall 2006, Honors College Dean Larry Andrews said.

A commemorative slide show played in the background of the room, which was filled with wall murals of black squirrels, as Andrews introduced Cartwright. She said she is glad the conception and construction of the college’s new home happened during her time here at Kent State.

Provost Paul Gaston called the farewell a day about the buildings.

“Today we bid farewell to the buildings that have been loved, lived in and decorated by generations of students,” he said.

Gaston said saying farewell is bittersweet, but now there is much to look forward to.

“This is the recommitment to the Honors College,” he said. “It will serve our needs more fully, more centrally, more attractively and lies at the very heart of campus.”

Gaston said in another sense the goodbye has nothing to do with the buildings at all.

“Most important is the spirit of the Honors education and the people who have made that spirit live,” he said.

The Honors program began in 1933. In 1965, it was the third program in the nation to become its own separate college, Andrews said.

Before finding its home in the current Honors Plaza, the college resided in buildings such as Bowman Hall, Wright Hall, North Hall — which no longer exists and Oscar Ritchie Hall.

“I love my office; I love my book cases; I love the pools of soft light … I will miss this place,” Andrews said before asking those in attendance to share their own memories of time spent in the buildings.

Julie Carlson, a 1998 graduate, was moved almost to tears when she spoke about the her experiences in the current buildings and the upcoming move.

“I am a great believer in being able to adapt to certain circumstances,” she said.

Diana Garlock, senior psychology major, was a commuter when she first joined the Honors College, and was afraid of not finding a friend, but instead she said she gained lifelong relationships.

She thanked Andrews, saying, “anyone who gives me a free book, a good book at that, is worth getting to know.”

After the short program, some participated in a scavenger hunt around Van Campen Hall. The winner of the hunt, Garlock, was given a $25 dollar gift certificate to Borders.

At the same time, resident assistants from each of the Honors dorms gave guided tours of the buildings. Alumni and their families walked through the halls smiling and laughing as they remembered the experiences they shared as Kent State Honors students.

Contact undergraduate studies and Honors College reporter Elise Franco at [email protected]