Kent State University’s Honors College is a place of enrichment, learning, and fun for an ever-growing number of students.


This year, the number of Honors College freshmen reached a new record, totaling 572 students. In addition to Stopher and Johnson Halls, which house the administrative offices of the Honors College as well as provide housing and community to hundreds of honors students, the Honors Living-Learning Community has expanded to include Centennial Court B as of fall 2019. Already, the Honors College class of 2023 demonstrates a great deal of academic potential: their average ACT composite score is 29.3 and their average unweighted high school GPA is 3.86. One hundred percent of current honors freshmen are merit scholarship recipients. Dr. Alison Smith, Honors College Dean, says that she and the Honors College staff are “delighted to welcome the largest freshman class in the history of the Honors College.” In addition to the record number of students beginning their honors education in Kent, Dean Smith adds that “thirteen students are starting their KSU experience in Florence, Italy this fall in the Freshmen in Florence Program.  All these students have joined the Honors College, creating an impressive group of 1,649 honors students this academic year.  We wish for them a great year of opportunities!”


The range of talents and interests among this year’s honors freshmen is vast, and they are majoring in many different areas of concentration throughout the colleges at the university. Close to thirty-four percent are majoring in subjects in the College of Arts & Sciences, while close to eighteen percent have majors in the College of the Arts. According to Dean Smith, “Although honors students are in all majors, many students are coming in this year with planned majors in STEM fields, or in architecture or fashion, and quite a few are Exploratory majors—trying to decide among several favorite possibilities.”  In addition to the exploratory program, other top majors among this year’s honors freshmen include nursing and biology. 


Amanda Stayer, a photography major from Suffield, Ohio, appreciates that being an honors student affords her the opportunity to meet students with different majors and interests than her own. She says that one-on-one meetings with professors and advisors have helped answer questions that she’s had so far, and that she feels like the Honors College environment is one of trust and communication.


Annika Dudik, a biology major from Geneva, Ohio, decided to be an honors student because her grades qualified her and because of the benefits associated with the Honors College. She and her fellow interviewees are also members of Kent State’s Honors Leadership Academy (HLA), which was established in the fall of 2018 and aims to connect incoming honors freshmen to leadership opportunities and civic engagement in the local community. One of the additional benefits of being in HLA was that Annika and other freshmen in the organization were able to move into the residence halls early. “The first couple days, we were all together, so it was a nice transition into college, having people that you’re meeting and that you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time with,” Annika says. 


Cameron Miller, a chemistry major from Pittsburgh, PA, also praises the environment of the Honors College and says that it is nice to be around students who value education as much as he does. He is most looking forward to the opportunities the Honors College offers, adding that “it’s nice having all of the facilities in here such as the library and the printing, and it’s nice to have easy access to all of that.” Cameron was recently elected president of Stopher-Johnson Hall Council, and he is excited about the events that the council will host, bringing students together. 


While many honors freshman are local, students of the Honors College class of 2023 represent thirty states, as well as seven different countries, including the United States. Ryan Marotta is one student who has traveled a considerable distance to attend Kent State: he is from Windham, NH, but often tells people that he is from Boston for the sake of simplicity. As an aeronautics major, he was looking at mostly out-of-state schools, and he decided to attend Kent State because it has the best program for flying, especially after comparing the cost to that of other schools. He says Kent State was “the best option, the most affordable option, and it kind of feels like home here, it’s pretty similar.” He says that he thought getting used to being in college and to being at Kent State was going to be more intimidating than it has been, but that “it was actually pretty smooth to transition here.” He attributes the ease of the transition to the fact that he has formed a good group of friends already, and being involved with the Honors Leadership Academy has definitely helped make connections. A resident of Stopher in the Honors College complex, Ryan adds that the Honors College is “a nice way of meeting people.”


Founded in 1933, Kent State’s Honors College is one of the oldest in the nation. Throughout its history, it has been guided by two basic principles: the responsibility to provide academic work that offers intellectual challenge and demands the best of students, and the belief that all students should be liberally educated regardless of their degree program. Nine Portz scholars have hailed from Kent State, most recently Megan Swoger in 2018. In the spring of 2019, the Honors College boasted one Goldwater Scholar and one Fulbright Scholar. The Honors College is proud of its students’ achievements and is committed to helping them achieve success in all areas of their academic and professional careers.




Media Contact:

Stephanie Moskal, smoskal@kent.edu, (330) 672-2312


POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2019 10:14 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 09:03 AM
Nina Palattella, Kent State University Honors College Intern