The Honors Humanities Program at the University of Maryland was founded in 1996 through the inspiration of Dr. Phyllis Peres. A select program within the Honors College for students seeking challenging exposure to the humanities and arts at the university level, Honors Humanities combines primary encounters with various historical traditions and practices of the humanities with contemporary questions and investigations of the role of the arts and humanities in today’s world. The program is nationally recognized as a leading program in undergraduate humanities studies, particularly because it is one that enfolds the dynamic resources of the greater university into the specially attentive framework of a small liberal arts college. Through our outstanding students, distinguished university faculty, small classroom settings, pioneering and diverse curriculum, and personal faculty direction of research and creative projects, we seek to encourage the thoughtful and articulate relationship to the world that leadership in all fields, humanities and otherwise, requires. Honors Humanities also offers special research, internship, travel, and fellowship opportunities; distinguished guest lectures, extra-curricular events, and cultural outings on campus and in Washington, D.C.; and above all, a truly remarkable, supportive, and fun community of individuals who live together in Anne Arundel Hall.
Diversity, both personal and intellectual, is the spark that makes our program go. We look not only for students of all backgrounds and experiences, and not only for students who intend to major in the humanities, but also for those who plan to major in the sciences and professional fields—our understanding being that everyone has a stake in the understanding of fields such as literature, history, philosophy, art history, language studies, music, anthropology, and cultural studies. Our belief is that the more perspectives that are brought to bear upon the conditions and challenges of humanity, and, indeed, against the arbitrary division of labor between the “sciences” and the “humanities,” the better. We aim to recruit and admit students with special insights, perspectives, experiences, curiosities, and convictions. It is the combination of the excellence and the individuality of the students in our program, engaged by a curriculum of both historical and contemporary sensibility, that makes it like no other in the country.
The Honors Humanities Program is one of the University of Maryland’s highly esteemed and nationally-ranked living-learning programs. It is also a centerpiece of the University’s nationally-ranked programs emphasizing undergraduate research. During the past decade, our students have won the Marshall, Mitchell and other national scholarships, a University Medal, a Pulitzer Prize, and even acclaim for a new play on Broadway. But the experience of Honors Humanities is much more than these kinds of awards and rankings alone suggest. We invite you to page through our Web site, looking at our courses; our faculty; our blog; our student-produced newsletter, "Impressions"; and the wealth of creativity that our students have demonstrated in their final “Keystone” projects. We also welcome your attention to the many exciting events that our program and its remarkable Student Council constantly plan. Our co- and extra-curricular programming ranges from special lectures to rare movie screenings; trips to local theaters and museums in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore; and opportunities to engage personally with internationally reknowned scholars and artists. If Honors Humanities sounds like the kind of program you might be interested in, you are most welcome to contact us with further questions or to come by to visit a class or meet some members of our community. In the spring, you might consider attending our annual undergraduate research symposium, which showcases the work of our students and emerging scholars throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. I personally look forward to meeting anyone interested in our program, the most remarkable undergraduate education opportunity I have had the privilege of being involved with.
Dr. Valérie K. Orlando
Director, Honors Humanities Program
Professor, French and Francophone Literatures and Cultures
University of Maryland