Students, professors showcase Meijer Honors College to future class

Roger Gilles, director of Meijer Honors College, speaks with prospective students
Roger Gilles, director of the Meijer Honors College, speaks with invited students and their family members during Signature Saturday.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

For engineering major Chloe Rymal, the Frederik Meijer Honors College has provided a setting and curriculum that has enhanced her education at Grand Valley.

“I wanted to learn different ways of problem solving, learning and looking at life,” Rymal said. “Their interdisciplinary sequences really broaden your imagination, your creativity and your problem solving. I wanted to be a part of that.”

Rymal’s academic journey, and the journey of her fellow Honors College students, are the centerpiece to an effort by the college and Admissions and Recruitment to attract next year’s class to its unique opportunities. 

Nearly 200 high school seniors admitted to Grand Valley and their family members got a firsthand look at the College as part of the Signature Saturday event coordinated by Admissions and Recruitment. In its second year, Signature Saturday welcomes invited guests to learn more about what the College can offer for their academic and professional development and also tour the college’s home, the Niemeyer Living Center. 

“The Honors College is a community within a community, but it’s also anchoring the academic work in the real grand challenges of our world, so that it’s relatable work,” President Philomena V. Mantella told the students. “It’s multidisciplinary work. It’s work of excellence.” 

Students with Honors College speak with invited students and family members
Current students in the Honors College speak with invited students and their family members during Signature Saturday.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
Invited students and their family members get a tour of the Niemeyer Living Center.
Students with the Honors College give a tour of the Niemeyer Living Center to Invited students and family members.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

A panel of Honors College students, including Rymal, answered questions and shared their experiences, discussing everything from Welcome Week to the college’s interdisciplinary sequences, one of its distinguishing features. 

In their first year, students take an interdisciplinary sequence, which covers a specific topic over the course of an academic year. This year’s 13 sequences include discussions on ancient Greece and Rome; the Middle East; culture, power and inequality; design thinking and creativity; and the culture and peoples of East Asia.  

“Through this one Honors College course that I chose, it provided this in-depth, interdisciplinary approach to education, and it allowed me to find my niche within my first semester being here,” said Patrick Chinoski, a communications major. 

“It’s this tight-knit community you find within even a large university. It’s probably the most significant part of my decision to come to Grand Valley and really makes me confident in that decision and where I am today.”

Roger Gilles, director of the Honors College, told students and their families that the College offers an intimate learning environment within an expansive campus community and its broad selection of activities and academic pursuits, such as diverse student organizations, research and leadership opportunities and study abroad. 

“You students are in one of those moments where you are trying to figure out how to take everything that’s brought you to this moment and turn it toward the future,” said Gilles. “We are here to facilitate your journey.”


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