Greetings to Alumni from the Dean
School is rolling again and our latest freshmen are sinking (happily?) into the many pages they’re reading for UHON 1010. With the start of school comes also time to remind you all about the UTC Honors Homecoming Gala on Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. This year, we are happy to host all the UHON/Brock/IIH alumni in the Hunter Museum of American Art for a night of reuniting with old friends, dancing, and general merrymaking. It is an especially fitting location for our gathering, given that we will also be honoring Gavin Townsend, who passed away very suddenly of pancreatic cancer just days after returning from a trip to Peru with the Honors College. Gavin was, as many if not most of you know, the director of the University Honors Program following Bob Fulton and preceding Greg O’Dea’s directorship of the Brock Scholars Program. Gavin originated the idea of the May Travel Seminar that combined the study of art, culture and architecture with an international trip. Almost without fail, he led and co-led these trips with a sense of intrepid adventure, if not a disturbing sense of focus, regarding certain Norse churches and Hadrian’s Wall. The June 16 memorial service hosted by Bonnie and Evan Townsend, Gavin’s wife and son, was a beautiful celebration of all that Gavin gave of himself in his work and his life. See Meghan O’Dea’s memory for a great example of one of these reminiscences.
We with the UTC Honors College are thrilled to report that there now exists a lasting and living memorial to Gavin; the Gavin Townsend Memorial Travel Fund is a scholarship designed to assist future Honors College students who wish to travel abroad. Over 60 donors contributed to this fund that is now at an endowable level; if you’d like to contribute, please click here.
The international travel supported by the UTC Honors May Travel Seminar is just one example of the ways we pull students out of the classroom and into the wider world. This year, the Honors College supported the travel of 116 students connected directly to specific honors courses; students traveled to Louisville to the Humana New Play Festival; to the Bahamas to undertake tropical pond ecological research; to Peru to explore art and culture; to Kenya to assist HIV-positive entrepreneurs; to Charleston, South Carolina, to study slavery’s historical presence there; to British Columbia to screen their honors films at a Canadian film festival; to Poland and Hungary to study minorities in Europe; to Florence, Kentucky, to experience the other side of evolution at the Creationist Museum and Ark Encounter; and to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to experience a rare full solar eclipse. Those 116 students took advantage of 135 unique, heavily-subsidized, academically-oriented travel experiences offered by the Honors College; 19 students explored with us twice. In addition, 52 students attended and presented their academic research or creative work at one of the three honors conferences we attended; seven of those students presented at two honors conferences.
The UTC Honors College truly carries on a tradition of transformative education. We’re proud we do.
Plan on traveling yourself to the Gala in October! And consider the value of your support of our efforts; we hope when you remember the experiences you had in honors at UTC, you’ll remember the support you had, whether you were hiking Hadrian’s Wall with Gavin or just watching your own mind unfurl in an honors class. And remember too: We love to know what’s happening with you. Send us an email with any updates you may have to include in future mailings.
See you in October!