Sean H. McDowell, PhD
Director, University Honors Program
Associate Professor, English, Film Studies
Building: Casey 232
Assistant to the Director
University Honors Program
University Honors students come from many parts of the country. Each has selected the Program because it offers a course of study and an approach to education that is uniquely appealing to a student in search of a challenge.
Students in the program receive an excellent foundation for their chosen undergraduate major as well as (for those who continue their education) graduate studies. After completing the program many students major in subjects in the humanities and social sciences, including foreign languages and international studies, which are housed in the College of Arts & Sciences. Students are also able to complete their undergraduate degree with a major from programs in the Albers School of Business and with some majors in the School of Science & Engineering. Honors Program students often double major.
Recent graduates have attended Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), Columbia (as a Truman Scholar), Stockholm University (as a Fulbright Scholar), Canberra (as a Rotary Scholar), Stanford, Berkeley, Cornell, Princeton, Purdue, Villanova, Notre Dame, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Boston College and Harvard. Honors graduates are employed in such diverse fields as law, education, medicine, social work, public administration, business and personnel management and foreign service.
“As a student in the Honors program I have gone through an odyssey through the Western world. I witnessed our histories come alive, dazzled at our masterful arts, and discovered for myself realities I had previously been blind to. Emerging out of the Honors setting I have realized through all this, there is a special way of critically and creatively thinking that Honors cultivates, a hugely significant skill in any field of study. This transformation I did within a community of colleagues and friends, and supported by some of the most fantastic professors on this campus.”
Delaney Piper, Environmental Studies major
“The Honors Program has not only taught me how to engage a text, but also how to let a text interact with me as a person. A common image of academic growth is one of combat, strengthening and conquering. The Honors Program taught me to allow texts to radically enter my conscience and change it, transforming the combative gauntlet into the joyous agon of self transformation.”
Christopher Peeler, 2011 Seattle University Graduate, English/Philosophy major
“Through the paper conferences my skills, as well as my confidence in paper writing and discussion improved. I went from a quiet, reserved person unsure of what I would say to someone who would jump in, clarify, correct and give an opinion. As a hard science major in a humanities Honors Program, the experience was life-changing and enlightening. I would do it all over again.”
Katie Boehnlein, 2010 Seattle University Graduate, Environmental Studies/English major
“I especially appreciate the opportunity as a business student to expose and immerse myself in such a strong survey of philosophical, historical and literary traditions. I have become a much stronger student and, more importantly, a better person as a result of my experience in the Honors Program.”
Kellen O’Connor, 2010 Seattle University Graduate, Business Economics major
“Although the Honors Program has many benefits, I believe I gained the most from the amazing professors I worked with. Not only do these professors stimulate critical discussion in the classroom, they also engage the students in a way that creates a dialogue far beyond the two years of the program. These professors not only pushed me academically, they also provided me with amazing opportunities and personal advice that helped me achieve more than I ever thought possible.”
Emily James, 2007 Seattle University Graduate, Political Science, and Truman Scholar
“The Honors Program has given me a learning community which pushed me [and] affirmed me… The teachers care about us as learners and as people who they are charged to share wisdom with, not to just dispense knowledge. I am grateful for these two years.”
Tara Rice, 2007 Seattle University Graduate, Economics/Philosophy major, Fulbright Fellowship
“The Honors Program taught us all how to engage with the Western tradition while telling us that we are good enough to question and critique that tradition…My Honors classmates taught me what it means to belong to a scholarly community, a community that demands respect for others and others’ ideas at the same time as it fosters enriching, collaborative friendships.”
Rebecca Thalberg, 2003 Seattle University Graduate, History, Stanford University Law