Differentiating ‘Honors’ Initiatives at FUS


Photos taken by Junior, Arpi Khachatryan at the last Honors Society’s Learned Conversation


Ciao amici!

So little storytime. At the club fair this year I had to explain to about 10 freshmen that the FUS Honors Society isn’t like the exclusive ‘The Honors Society’ in American High Schools. Alas it’s quite the opposite really. It’s inclusive to all with no grade requirement. 

Additionally, FUS also has the Honors Program and Honors Scholarship that get confused with each other. The Honors Program is the closest to a traditional American Honors Society, except not mostly just for show. Finally, the Honors Scholarship is an invite-only opportunity that flies out prospective students to Lugano! 

The overall point of this article is to differentiate the Honors initiatives from each other and listing out everything they include. Additionally, participation/inclusion in one does not translate to another (though in some cases it is recommended!)

Honors Society – A School Club

First off, everyone is invited to get involved. Actually, there isn't even really the concept of “members.” Students, faculty (both professors and staff), and alumni are able to participate in the main events that take place which are called Learned Conversations.

It’s good to note that the Learned Conservations are…

  • In a salon-style atmosphere

  • Based on Fairly open-ended questions

  • Less disciplinary bound

  • Accepting of different approaches/perspectives

  • Led after with a reception that involves snacks and refreshments

These one hour talks are what make up the score of Honors Society. In 2002, Alumni James and Professor Pyka created this school club for the students who wanted to be more intellectually stimulated. They wanted an atmosphere where they could be proved wrong, question why something even exists while laughing and making inside jokes.

Past Learned Conversation Themes:

  • Can culture be owned? Appropriation vs. Appreciation

  • The Art VS the Artist

  • Is Learning an Experience? Should it be?

So, as the advisor, Professor Pyka put it simply: Honor’s Society isn’t all composed of “hopeless nerds that live in misery.” Surprising, I know. There’s not a grade requirement. There’s no real “membership.” You show up if the learned conversation spikes your interest. That’s it.

Honors Program – An ‘Honors’ College Experience & Degree

I’ll just give you a quick run down on the mission statement and how to get involved!

Mission statement — “The Honors Program at Franklin is an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research and scholarship with expert faculty and other highly qualified peers. ... Honors students are encouraged to give back to the community through service learning and by sharing their knowledge, expertise and experiences.”

Some more juicy details: 

  • You can “declare honors” only after being at FUS for at least one semester

  • In most cases other than exceptions, you’ll need a 3.5 grade average BY THE END of your undergrad college career

  • You can CHOOSE what class to do an ‘Honors Seminar/Tutorial’ in and usually there's 5 students MAX in the class

  • There’s an annual Honors Showcase where all soon to be graduating Honors students present their thesis! A bit of information is linked here.

Alongside also doing an Honors Capstone, thesis, and keeping “good disciplinary standing” you can then graduate with an honors diploma! The teachers are here to support you through this process and are more than happy to aid you in your classes.

Honors Scholarship -- An Invite-only Scholarship 

 *Only for accepted prospecting freshmen

The Honors Scholarship is an opportunity available via an email invite that many prospecting freshmen can apply for. It requires the student to write a short creative essay on a subject and later if selected for a final group (a handful of students, or two) will then be interviewed.

After a quite fun interview process (totally not intensive at all) the scholarship is then given to 1-2 students based on their essay and interview answers.

This mostly merit based scholarship requires that a student maintains a 3.5 GPA throughout their time at FUS. In turn they’re rewarded with a recurring scholarship of 5k a year.


I hope that’s cleared up some confusion if you’ve had any! Now take your pick and make your experience truly yours.

To our next meet up via the web!

Ci vediamo presto!

(We will see eachother soon),



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