Letter from the Director

Dear Honors Program Alumni,


Early this fall, Kate Hanson (Honors Program Deputy Director) and I met with Dr. James Dunford, among an early group of students enrolled in the Honors Program. Dr. Dunford shared his memories of his time on campus with us – of being a college student during a time of great national social and political upheaval. As I think of our conversation with Dr. Dunford, I am reminded of the special bonds that alumni share with the university community, and of how transformative being a part of the Honors community can be. Against this backdrop, I would like to share with you some of the events happening in Honors this fall.

Danielle Smith, Dr. James Dunford and Kate Hanson

We have had a series of notable speakers share their work with students. The artist Robert Shetterly talked about his life, art and activism in my course, Conceptualizing Human Rights. You can learn more about his work at: https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Robert Shetterly speaking to class

In Professor John Western’s Honors geography course, American Diversity and Unity,  students shared a discussion with Attorney Alan Peterman about what is perhaps the only outstanding native land claim in the United States, which involves the Mohawk/St. Regis people, on the border of Canada and the US.

Alan Peterman presenting research to class
Students in Professor Sue Wadley’s quilting class are working on quilts which will be donated to local organizations at the end of the semester. In November, Ellen Blalock, a local quilter, will share techniques and her social justice activism through quilting with the class. Her art is featured at: http://www.ellenmblalock.com.

Heart tree quilt

Karen Hall (Honors Program Assistant Director), took students in her Honors Orientation Seminar to a lacrosse game at Onondaga Lake, where they learned about the importance of the sport for American Indians and about the sacred history of the region.

students in park at wooden stick festival

Writer Kim van Alkemade, author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl, talked about the process of researching and writing historical fiction with students during a discussion session organized by Professor Eileen Schell. Her writing is featured at: http://kimvanalkemade.com.

Students listening to Kim Van Alkemade presentation
Professor Melissa Chessher took a group of students to Oakwood Cemetery, where Sue Greenhagen, a member of the Historic Oakwood Preservation Association, conducted a tour, “Live Oaks and Dead Folks,” in character and full-costume as a Victorian-era undertaker named Austin K. Hoyt.

undertaker giving tour of oakwood cemetary
Honors remains engaged on campus and in the community. Please join Kate, Hanna, and me at the Lubin House in New York City on November 28th for an informal reception, where I will talk about my work on improving educational attainment for children in Liberia. Please also let us know when you are on campus. We would love to meet and hear 
how you are doing. Perhaps much has changed since you graduated, but I suspect you will find that the vibrant campus community and the strong bonds among honors students have not changed much.

Thank you and with best regards,

Danielle Smith

Director, Honors Program

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