A Word From The Director
Near the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore explains to Harry Potter why the Hogwarts Sorting Hat placed Harry into Gryffindor house (home of those who are courageous and loyal) rather than in Slytherin (home of those who are ambitious but use their gifts for darker purposes):
“Listen to me, Harry. You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students. . . . Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think.”
“It only put me in Gryffindor,” said Harry in a defeated voice, “because I asked not to go in Slytherin.”
“Exactly,” and Dumbledore, beaming once more. “Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Many students enter the undergraduate experience well-equipped with their own “gifts.” You may not speak Parseltongue, but perhaps you excel at math. Your teachers may have singled you out for your writing ability. Maybe you’re the student others sought out to tutor them in biology. You might dazzle your friends with your musical or theatrical performances. Perhaps others have recognized your leadership abilities, naming you captain of your Quidditch – I mean, soccer – team. Whatever your gifts, as you move to the “next level” in your education, you are entering a more selective company of young people who possess their own gifts. Some of them may even possess your gifts. In this more selective environment, you may be wondering how to distinguish yourself and achieve your full potential?
The Hogwarts headmaster suggests that in an atmosphere where many have ability, it is our choices that set us apart. If you approach your undergraduate career with a sense that you’d like to challenge yourself, to see what you can make of your gifts, then the Boone Honors Program is likely a good choice for you.
Members of the Boone Honors Program receive scholarship at the highest level of the college’s matrix (except for a few competitive scholarships), as well as a travel scholarship of up to $3,000 to help members complete the Study Abroad requirement. Other perks include priority registration and housing, opportunities for independent research, social and cultural outings to a broad range of destinations including regional and national honors conferences, and a head start on preparing for graduate school or your career. In recent years, program outings have included performances of Cirque du Soleil, the Harlem Globetrotters, Blue Man Group, Opera Roanoke, Southwest Virginia Ballet, Mill Mountain Theatre and American Shakespeare Center, as well as visits to Biltmore Estate and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
In the honors program pages here, you will find a general outline of benefits and requirements, including the handbook and course listings. Nearly all honors seminars meet a Liberal Arts Core requirement. The Handbook contains policies presently in effect, including eligibility for honors scholarships. Membership and alumni directories will help you get to know program members, present and past. Note that the program also has a presence on Facebook and Instagram.
If you are reading these pages because you are a new member of the Boone Honors Program, I extend a special warm welcome. In Fall 2019, we welcome 20 new first-year members, as well as four members added since Spring 2019 by review of the Steering Committee. Students already enrolled may petition to join if they have been named to the Dean’s List for one semester of coursework at Ferrum. Contact me for an explanation of this process.
If you are still deciding whether honors education is for you, I welcome the opportunity to visit, speak, or correspond with you. Please call me (540.365.4334 or 540.407.8656), send an owl to firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by my office, Britt 200.
Make your choices wisely, for I suspect that Professor Dumbledore is right when he says that overall, our choices impact our lives more than our abilities do.
Lana A. Whited, Ph.D.
Director of the Boone Honors Program and Professor of English
Celebrating my 30th year as a Ferrum faculty member!