History of the Honors College

The History of the Honors College

The history of the Honors College began in 1992 when President Felix invited Carole Lambert, PhD, and a team of faculty to develop an Honors Program with a curriculum of greater depth, intensity, and intellectual rigor at Azusa Pacific University.

Beginning with twenty students, the Honors Program graduated over seven hundred Honors scholars in two decades. In 2012, President Jon Wallace and Provost Mark Stanton announced plans to expand this legacy by establishing an Honors College. APU named David Weeks, PhD, the founding dean. After months of research, extensive review of Honors Colleges, curriculum development with over fifty faculty, and consultation with the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), a new Honors College curriculum was approved in 2014 by the Undergraduate Studies Council, General Studies Council, Faculty Senate, and the Dean’s Council.

The Honors College Timeline


  • Commercial trade publisher Mythopoeic Press publishes a second student-authored Oxbridge book, Journey Back Again
  • Five new Oxbridge books—Minor Prophets, Ellison, Brontë, Tolkien, Dante—bring the five-year total to twenty-six published books


  • The Inside the Honors College podcast and Honors video series on YouTube commences
  • Seniors produce six Oxbridge books on Dickens, Shakespeare, Psalms, Dickinson, and C. S. Lewis
  • Student-authored A Compass for Deep Heaven: Navigating the C. S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy (Square Halo Books) hits No. 1 on Amazon in the “Religious Literature Criticism” and “Science Fiction and Fantasy Literary Criticism” categories
  • 71% of applicants say the College is a primary or significant factor in choosing to apply to APU
  • An generous benefactor donates a $1,000,000 charitable remainder trust to the Honors College
  • First-time freshmen are 52% nonwhite, forming one of the nation’s most diverse honors colleges


  • The Fletcher Jones Foundation donates $1,000,000 toward a $3 million endowed faculty chair for Citizenship and Civic Virtue
  • Honors Humanities becomes APU’s 4th largest academic major
  • Another generous family funds an endowed scholarship
  • Students travel to Israel
  • Graduating students craft Oxbridge books on Milton, Austen, Aristotle, and Tolkien


  • Generous donors unveil three scholarship endowments.
  • The American Council of Trustees and Alumni recognizes the Honors College as a “hidden gem”
  • Oxbridge Tutorial students publish books on the Gospels, friendship, C. S. Lewis, Tolstoy, Teresa of Avila


  • Acta Tabula launches, providing a weekly student update
  • First annual Shoestring Soirée, a semi-formal celebratory event
  • The first class of Honors College graduates publish Oxbridge books on Dante, Bonhoeffer, Shakespeare, O’Connor, and Dostoevsky


  • A substantial estate gift establishes a $1,000,000 scholarship endowment
  • 117 first-year students push total enrollment to well over 350 students
  • The final class of Honors Program students graduate for a total of 754 program graduates from 1996 to 2017


  • The Fletcher Jones Foundation establishes a $500,000 scholarship endowment
  • The Honors College Instagram account launches
  • 105 new students join the Honors College


  • 93 freshmen join in year two, doubling the number of Honors Humanities students


  • The Faculty Senate approves a new Honors Humanities curriculum
  • 91 students in the inaugural class begin working toward the Honors Humanities major
  • The first major gift is a $480,000 charitable remainder trust to fund teaching writing


  • The Board of Trustees passes a resolution to establish an Honors College
  • APU names the founding dean of the College, David Weeks, PhD
  • Honors theme housing begins in Engstrom Hall
  • APU constructs an office suite and classrooms for roundtable colloquy discussions


  • President Jon Wallace and Provost Mark Stanton announce plans to transform the successful Honors Program into a full-fledged Honors College


  • The first Honors Report goes to print


  • Vicky Bowden, PhD, takes the helm of the Honors Program


  • The first class of twenty Honors Scholars graduates


  • Mel Shoemaker, PhD, becomes the second program director


  • President Richard Felix invites Carole Lambert, PhD, to create an Honors Program and become the founding director

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

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