Kimberly D. Tremblay, PhD Keynote Speaker at Commonwealth Honors College Induction Ceremony

Dr. Tremblay reflected on the importance of the general education (GENED) courses students take and how the GENED courses are designed to enhance and enrich their major courses and vice-versa. She counselled students to “be excited and passionate about your major and awed by the opportunity to learn about topics outside your academic wheelhouse”.

Eight hundred and sixty-six new Commonwealth Honors College students were eligible to be inducted this year including 693 freshmen from 7 countries and 22 states and 173 transfer students from 4 countries and 7 states.

The Pinning Ceremony symbolizes the student’s commitment to the community they have joined and to the goals they have set for themselves, and for each other. Dean Gerzina encouraged students to wear their pins with pride on their backpacks and to special campus events. She suggested that students keep their pins in a special place so that in 2021 they can place their pins on their graduation robes when they are all gathered together again at the Celebration of Excellence, the Honors College graduation event.

The University of Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors College - CHC offers an honors curriculum that incorporates general education and advanced scholarship for undergraduates in all of the University’s majors. With a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, CHC encourages students to become leaders in thought and action. Specialized academic programs, supportive advising, close connections with faculty, extensive opportunities for research, and leadership development are available to all honors students. CHC prepares students not only for professional careers and graduate studies, but for life.

In 1894, 23 undergraduate honors theses were archived in the library.  As the university grew and expanded from Massachusetts Agricultural College to Massachusetts State College to the University of Massachusetts, more departments offered honors tracks for their students.  In 1960, the campus established a campus-wide Honors Program, with honors courses available not only in the arts and sciences, but also in the professional schools.   In 1977, 400 students were enrolled in the Honors Program; over the following decade that number increased to 600.  The Honors Program continued to expand through the 1980s and 1990s.

To build on the Honors College’s success and to better express its mission, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved the University of Massachusetts’s recommendation to change the name to Commonwealth Honors College in May 2010. Today, there are more than 3,000 students in CHC.

The Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences currently has 68 Commonwealth Honors College students. This fall at least 12 of our seniors are starting work on their honors thesis in labs throughout the department and university, to fulfill the requirements for Departmental Honors.

 For more information about the Commonwealth Honors College access https://www.honors.umass.edu/