Honors College Initiative: Helping Texas Tech Attract the Best and Brightest
A special alumni association fundraising effort yields big support to the Honors College.
By Jennifer Ritz
College expenses continue to rise so it's more important than ever for the Teas Tech Alumni Association to support scholarship initiatives like the Honors College.
The Honors College at Texas Tech University doesn't offer degrees. Instead, the college complements degree plans from the other colleges on campus. Its mission – to provide enriched learning experiences for advanced undergraduates while emulating a small-college learning environment – attracts students seeking a significant challenge academically. Not surprisingly, the average SAT scores for students enrolled in the Honors College is 1300.
Established in the mid-1960s, the Honors Program became its own college in 1999 and is now housed in the historic McClellan Hall, directly east of the Student Union Building. As enrollment continued to grow, the need for scholarship support also grew as Texas Tech competed with other universities for the best and brightest students.
“The TTAA was first approached early in 2006 about helping to fund scholarships dedicated to Texas Tech’s Honors College,” says Jim Douglass, associate vice president of the Texas Tech Alumni Association. “Former Tech president, Dr. Donald Haragan, who was a member of the TTAA national board of directors, brought forth the suggestion.”
During a 2006 board meeting, the TTAA board endorsed the Honors Initiative: to raise $1 million with the stipulation that the interest from funds raised be used for funding scholarships and other appropriate Honors College activities.
“When I served on the National Board of the Alumni Association, I suggested the board consider funding a scholarship endowment for the Honors College,” says Donald Haragan, Ph.D., former president of Texas Tech University and professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Honors College. “The Board agreed and the endowment was established. In addition, some funds were contributed to the honors scholarship to provide immediate help.”
“Funding academic scholarships has been an important role for the Alumni Association for many years and the Honors College was a place where additional scholarship funds were required in order to recruit the best students in the state. The funds have been used primarily to enhance the amount of university scholarships in order to make them competitive. It has made a big difference,” Haragan says.
Like all endowments, the amount awarded annually depends on the amount of interest earned on the principle each year. All admitted Honors College students are eligible for scholarships funded by the Honors College Initiative Endowment. Learn more about the Honors College.