Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus graduates first class of honors students

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Pictured left to right: Abbigail Morgan Young, Holly Ann Stockhover, Carissa Dawn Walls, Samantha Ann Skirvin, Sabrina R. Schipper, Mikala Brianne Greenlee, Ashley Autumn Dieter, Michael Francis Foist III, Jordan Allan Jones. Photo courtesy of IUPUC

With last weekend's commencement in the books, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus now has nearly 6,000 graduates. That includes nine from the newest graduating class who carry a distinction never before achieved -- or available -- at the school.

The IUPUC Honors Program graduated its first group of students, nine men and women who came to campus with strong pedigrees and completed additional college coursework worthy of honors designation.

These students, each with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.75 and an ACT composite score of 28 or higher or an SAT score of 1250 or higher, were the first in the program when it began in the fall of 2014. Then, over the next three years, they completed an additional 24 hours of coursework within their major while also working with faculty mentors.

A wide variety of majors are represented in the group: three business, two psychology, one education, one biology, one communications and one nursing.

And there are more coming. One year after the program began, it admitted twice as many students as the inaugural class. Last fall, 33 more students began their quest in the Honors Program.

"One of the benefits of an honors program to the institution is the ability to secure more of those high-level, high-achieving high school students," program director Vickie Welsh-Huston said. "It's definitely catching on."

But there will be only one "first" class.

"We told them that they would be the ones to set the bar for what an Honors scholar would look like at IUPUC, and they've been amazing," said Welsh-Huston, noting their numerous academic presentations on and off campus. "I tell the ones behind them that they have a high bar that they'll have to reach."

2016-17 IUPUC Honors scholars

NameMajorHometown
Ashley Autumn DieterFinanceColumbus
Michael Francis Foist IIICommunication StudiesSeymour
Mikala Brianne GreenleeFinance and ManagementHope
Jordan Allan JonesMarketing and ManagementSeymour
Sabrina R SchipperBiologyColumbus
Samantha Ann SkirvinPsychologyFranklin
Holly Ann StockhoverNursingColumbus
Carissa Dawn WallsPsychologyColumbus
Abbigail Morgan YoungElementary EducationNorman