Honors students will finally have a “sense of home”

Joshua Hardee, Co-Editor

The new FMU Honors Center, situated between the Cauthen Educational Media Center and the Stokes Administration Building, is set to open this semester.

The Honors Center will be the new home for the honors, international and McNair Scholars programs. It will have several administrative offices, classrooms, a conference room and a commons area with a water feature under an atrium.

Jon Tuttle, director of the honors program and professor of English, said the best thing about the new center is the sense of home it will provide.

“Right now, the honors program isn’t anywhere in particular,” Tuttle said. “It’s kind of all over. That’s true also of the international and McNair Scholars programs, because right now they’re housed in the directors’ offices, but those offices are in other departments. This will give all three programs a sense of place and the opportunity to make our presence and identities more tangible, more visible.”

According to Tuttle, the timeline has not really changed since the pandemic hit, but the extent to which the building will be used socially and academically will depend on the COVID-19 numbers. He said they will likely have an informal reception or ceremony and then, when it is safer, a more formal event.

Tuttle also said they anticipate an early-October opening, but that is tentative. Those with offices there will migrate over when it opens and begin using the classrooms, provided all the Wi-Fi and other wiring has been completed. The honors program will begin the spring semester with courses assigned to classrooms there. The facility will also be used to host different events.

“I envision receptions of all sorts in that area, including honors parties, award ceremonies, whatever sort of occasion requires a stately but comfortable ambiance with great acoustics,” Tuttle said. “My office will be there, so there will be cats gathered about outside.”

Tuttle said professors from other departments would also be able to make use of the facility, if space allows.

“I’d love to see the commons area become a gathering place for not just honors students, but anyone looking for a good conversation, maybe a game of Jenga, or a cat,” Tuttle said.

The administrative functions of the honors, international and McNair Scholars programs will all be performed in the new center. Most honors classes will be held in the Honors Center. However, those requiring labs or specialized equipment will likely stay in the Leatherman Science Facility or the McNair Science Building.

“The classrooms will be very nice, with a lot of natural lighting and some great instructional media equipment,” Tuttle said. “We will have, for the first time, actual storage closets for files. And we’ll buy a new Keurig; got to have coffee.”