The Honors Program at Gonzaga University was founded in 1958 by the Academic Vice President Fr. John P. Leary, S.J. It sought to provide a “stimulating and challenging educational experience for the exceptional student.” The program’s original brochure argues that “if the free world ever needed to give special attention to persons with exceptional qualifications, it needs to do so now.”
The curriculum of the program was rigorous and even required reading knowledge of a foreign language to be acquired “on one’s own time.” In the first three years, the curriculum left no room for elective or even major classes. Despite the difficult requirements and demanding curriculum, the brochure states that “effort will be made to keep the brighter student in sufficient contact with others to help curb any undue self-esteem or illusions of over-importance.” The brochure expressed a concern for the development of the whole person, embodying Gonzaga’s Jesuit ideals, for “a whole personality is a beautiful and wonderful thing.” “A strong incisive mind laced round with sensitive emotions, exercising together with a healthy body and nerves” was the program’s ideal.
Fr. John Leary, S. J., professor of philosophy, founder and Director of the Honors Program 1958-1962. After directing the Honors program for four years, Fr. Leary went on to become the president of the university.
This shirt was created for the 2012-2013 academic year, marking the first decade of the honors t-shirt tradition.
Margaret was the curator of this exhibit.