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UST Honors Students Attend NCHC Conference

Four Honors Program students at University of St. Thomas were chosen to attend the annual conference of National Collegiate Honors Council in New Orleans last November. 

Junior Philosophy major Martha Hudson, junior English major Paul Roewe, junior biology major Holly Merta and junior theology major Sarah Ashour were chosen based on their GPA in the Honors Program courses.

The theme for the 2013 NCHC annual conference was “Conflict, Transformation, Creolization.” New Orleans is a model of creativity that emerges from multicultural interaction between Native Americans, French and Spanish explorers. These confrontations settled over time into a new synthesis known as creolization.

“The conference had several particularly interesting presentations,” Martha Hudson said. “I attended one about a community service program, which gave me some ideas for my own community service project here at UST.”

About 2,200 people attended the New Orleans conference, drawn from 893 member colleges and universities across the United States.

“I liked the NCHC experience,” Hudson said. “It was interesting to see how our Honors Program is actually very unique compared to many other honors programs. We read and discuss the great works of literature and ideas throughout history instead of having a set of specific courses such as honors biology or honors history, and so forth.”

Dr. Terry Hall, director of Honors Program at UST, said it is different from honors programs at most other universities in as much as it is interdisciplinary, whereas other programs group classes around a major discipline. The Honors Program at UST services a seminar format for its courses, where discussion is encouraged and lecturing is kept to a minimum. 

“The UST Honors Program exemplifies the goals of a Catholic liberal arts education. In addition it offers students a unique experience that integrates spiritual, cultural and intellectual foundations of a Western civilization,” Dr. Hall said.

Dr. Hall said that the junior students in the UST Honors Program are working to complete 75 hours of community service in the Houston area, as a part of the requirements of their Honors community service project class.

Hudson said her community service project class was focused on social justice. “The community service project class is discussion style like the other Honors classes, but this time it was led by students,” Hudson said. “We read works on social justice about and by inspirational people like Jean Vanier and Mother Teresa.”

For more information about the Honors Program, contact Dr. Terry Hall at or 713-525-3587.

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