University of Vermont

The Honors College

Message from the Dean

Abu Rizvi

At this point in June, we are wrapping up the orientation sessions for incoming first-year students. The students receive a packet of information that includes a copy of David Sloan Wilson's Evolution for Everyone, which is summer reading for the first-year seminar, "The Pursuit of Knowledge." A book on the important and controversial topic of evolution is timely. This year marks not only 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth but also the 150th of the publication the Origin of Species. David Wilson's book is also very engaging. Natalie Angier, science writer for the New York Times, calls it "a minor miracle, the near complete emulsifying of science and the real world." Students will arrive on campus having read the book and written a short essay on how evolutionary theory accounts for infanticide among burying beetles. A discussion of these essays will kick off the academic year for the first-year class of about 160 students, who will get to hear from David Wilson on September 10.

The Honors College will also welcome two other groups of new students in the fall. Well over 100 new sophomores will join the sophomores who are continuing from last year. A record number of transfer students will also be entering the Honors College. Together, they will take one of 15 sophomore seminars on topics that range very widely. A sampling of topics: cryptography, international development, the gender and the city of Rome, green politics, and Henry David Thoreau.

As we look ahead to a class of new students we also want to recall the accomplishments of our graduates and continuing students. This newsletter contains highlights of the May 2009 Commencement, which marked the graduation of 112 Honors College Scholars. It was also the occasion to remember another anniversary, the 150th anniversary of John Dewey's birth, which was commemorated by the presentation of a ceremonial mace to the Honors College by J. Brooks Buxton, Class of 1956. This issue also contains student writing and profiles of the winners of the Fulbright, Goldwater and Boren awards.

I look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes for the summer.

Last modified July 01 2009 11:59 AM