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Retiring Honors Program director leaves legacy award fund

Friday, November 8, 2013

Honors Program Director Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett
with Sesame Street character Murray at a
recent KU Alumni event in New York City.

The University Honors Program Advisory Board has created the Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Outstanding Contribution Award, in honor of the director, who will retire January 1. The purpose of the award is to recognize Honors students who demonstrate leadership, innovation and engagement in the Honors Program.

“I’ve been so inspired by particular students who have made contributions to the program that will be long-lasting. All are high achievers who do well in class and research, but some leave long-lasting marks on the program. I am honored that the Board has established this wonderful award to recognize these special students,” Kathleen says.

She hopes that the award will be given to students who leave a legacy with the Honors Program that will affect other students or create opportunities for other students. She would like the award to be presented each year at the Honors freshman convocation, so that incoming students will be inspired to be involved and contribute to the Honors Program.

Kathleen is thrilled that the Advisory Board has established this fund, in part because it reflects a learning experience she had as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, studying child psychology. Because, at that time, most of the advising by faculty was focused on graduate students, she and some of her classmates developed a peer advising program for child psychology majors, so that they could receive personalized guidance for their academic paths.

“Early on, I realized that undergraduates can have a lot of impact on a program,” she says. “The Honors Program is a good place for students who understand they have a great idea and can make it happen.”

Kathleen, a professor of psychology at KU since 1985 and Honors professor since the 1990s, has seen students propelled into careers and disciplines by their interactions with faculty.

“We have an impact on the people we mentor. Undergraduates are at an age where they are trying to figure out what they are doing with their lives, and faculty and staff can have a profound impact. I’m grateful to my own mentors and grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to mentor so many wonderful Honors students. Their accomplishments continue to amaze me,” she says.

And now, thanks to the Board and Kathleen, they may be rewarded for their extra efforts.



Course offerings are “among the most comprehensive in the nation,” according to “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs”
98% of University Honors Program graduates are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation
40% of students in the University Honors Program conduct research before graduation
9 to 1: Average ratio of KU honors students to faculty advisors
1 of only 7 programs nationwide to receive a top rating from “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” in 2014
60% of University Honors Program students study abroad
KU honors students select their advisors from top-ranked KU faculty
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