Honors family finally gets their home


Photo by: Abigail Lesley

Construction of the Honor Center has begun and will soon be a home for the honors community.

FMU is adding a new building to campus, specifically for the honors department, where classrooms and hangout spots will be open for all students.

Located between the Cauthen Educational Media Center (CEMC) and Stokes Administration building, construction of the new honors building has been underway. Housed in the new building will be state-of-the-art classrooms, a large commons area and offices for the honors, McNair Scholars, international and gender studies programs.

Jon Tuttle, director of the honors program and professor of English, said the new honors building will be beneficial for the entire community.

“It’s fantastic,” Tuttle said. “It will be a showcase for the university. When we have open houses, people will be brought through there, and the board of trustees will have meetings there, I assume.”

Tuttle said the honors department is beneficial for many students and serves as an attraction for new incoming students.

“It is to attract the best students in the area and beyond the area that we can; because a lot of schools want them and we do too,” Tuttle said. “I like selling Francis Marion to good students in the area because there is so much about this university to like, beginning with the campus, but also the faculty and the curriculum that honors offers good students.”

Tuttle said the students work hard and get honors credit, but the program also strives to create a community for the honors students.

“We’ve got 200 really great students who eat a lot of pizza; who bowl late at night; who go kayaking,” Tuttle said. “We do a lot of things; volunteerism, Creepy Hollow, things like that. It has become a family of like-minded people who discover each other and know each other all four years and then beyond.”

While the students have to perform at an academically higher level, Tuttle said the program is much more than just an elevated education.

“I would say it is primarily that, but I’m not sure they’d agree,” Tuttle said. “I thought my job was to be a curriculum coordinator and bureaucrat, but I’m also a cruise director. I spend about half of my day lining up vans to take to, for example, the state fair. That’s a really fun job to have.”

While a good GPA and SAT score are important to the department when deciding on new members, other factors are taken into consideration.

“If you do not meet our 1160 SAT, 24 ACT threshold, but have a terrific GPA say coming out of Lake City High School, or a high-class rank, or you’re captain of the volleyball team and heavily involved in your church volunteerism, we look at that too,” Tuttle said. “Test scores are not the best predictors of success in college or honors, desire is; and that’s always been true.”

Students who are interested in the honors program are encouraged to contact Tuttle.