Our mission is to challenge, encourage, and celebrate undergraduate students who pursue a path of academic excellence on their way to becoming advanced scholars, working professionals, creative artists, and/or community leaders. We do this through innovative and engaging classroom settings, living communities, and special events that promote a love for inquiry, learning, and exposition. Our Honors College welcomes students who are able to thrive in a reading, writing, and research oriented environment and who want to be encouraged and challenged by their peers and our Honors Faculty.
The UMass Lowell Honors Program began its life in 1995. Instrumental in its creation were: Eric Sheldon, Eugene Mellican, Robert Kunzendorf, and Jacqueline Moloney. Over the years, there has been eight directors: Eric Sheldon, Ph.D., Eugene Mellican, Ph.D., Stephen Pennell, Ph.D., Noelle McAfee, Ph.D., Alice Waters, Ph.D., Doreen Arcus, Ph.D., Julie Nash, Ph.D., and current director, James Canning, Ph.D. There have been two associate directors: Eugene Mellican, Ph.D. and Robert Kunzendorf, Ph.D. There have been many Honors Coordinators including, our current coordinator, Elizabeth Donaghey.
On Feb. 27, 2014, recognizing the strength of the Honors Program and its contributions to UMass Lowell's rising stature, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees voted to elevate the program to an Honors College. James Canning, Ph.D. became the first dean of the UMass Lowell Honors College on June 1, 2014.
The UMass Lowell Commonwealth Honors Program is sanctioned by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. In 2001, the Board of Higher Education started to approve honors programs within the Massachusetts Public Higher Education System. We received our initial approval in 2002 and then we were re-approved in 2008.
UMass Lowell's Honors College is administered by a team of four full-time staff including a dean, an honors coordinator, and two professional staff. The dean reports directly to the provost and works closely with the vice provost for undergraduate education. The UMass Lowell Honors Council, consisting of Honors Faculty and Honor Student Representatives, oversees and reviews the curriculum and the coursework.