Honors Convocation brings new band, procession additions

Today’s 45th annual Honors Convocation will focus on making students aware of a global community as a best-selling author and professor delivers the keynote address.Honors Convocation is a ceremony held to celebrate the conclusion of senior honors presentations, the announcement of the Honors Scholar Award, the Faculty Recognition Award and an opportunity to hear a lecturer speak on an academic or current issue, said Katie Quinn, honors program coordinator.

This year’s speaker, Benjamin R. Barber, is an internationally renowned political theorist who will discuss the role of a democracy in a speech titled “Can Capitalism Survive Consumerism?”, said Peggy Watson, director of the honors program.

As the Gershon and Carrol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland, Barber has written several books on democracy and citizenship.

“We wanted to find a speaker to give a little food for thought and give people something to really think about,” Watson said. “And Dr. Barber definitely can apply a global connection.”

Honors Convocation also celebrates the induction of honor students into one of the nation’s oldest honor organizations, Phi Beta Kappa. Quinn said Phi Beta Kappa is one of the most prestigious honor organizations in the nation. Only 30 students out of the 701-member honors program are accepted, Quinn said.

Watson said this year’s convocation will bring new traditions. Honors students will have the opportunity to march into the ceremony alongside their honors professors; in the past, only professors have participated in a processional and recessional march, Watson said.

This year, Honors Week, the week-long presentation period of senior projects, which concludes with a convocation and banquet, will concurrently run with the Festival of Student Scholarship and Creativity. The festival is a fusion of several independent symposiums and research presentations of TCU schools and colleges into one coordinated week-long event, Quinn said.

James Gleaton, vice president of the honors cabinet, said he enjoys seeing the diversity of honors presentations.

“Honors Week illustrates something I love best about the program – its diversity,” said Gleaton, a junior biology and mathematics major. “I think sometimes the common stereotype with an Honors Program is that it specifically relates to notable work in the liberal arts, which couldn’t be more of an illusion.”

Gleaton said TCU Honors showcases a wide variety of interests from business cycles to the hepatitis C virus.

Today’s convocation will also be the first time TCU’s three-year-old steel drum band, which incorporates Latin percussion instruments with steel percussion instruments, performs for the ceremony.

Classes held at 11 a.m. will be canceled to allow all students, faculty and staff to have the opportunity to attend Convocation. Quinn said several honors students invite their families to attend the ceremony and the senior project presentations.