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Sandy Wick announces retirement

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Honors Program Associate

Director Sandy Wick

Longtime University Honors Program Associate Director Sandy Wick will retire from the University Honors Program this summer.

Sandy Wick joined the Honors Program in 1990 and has been an integral part of Honors students’ lives ever since. Through the years, as the Honors Program has evolved to become a home for more than 1,000 students per school year, Sandy has advised students, scheduled classes, reviewed admissions applications, assisted with national scholarship applications, planned summer orientation – and just generally done whatever it takes to help Honors students succeed.

“The best thing was working with the students, getting to know them and how smart they are – not just how smart they are, but how curious they are. Hearing about what they’ve done after they’ve left here is pretty exciting, as well,” she says.

One comment from a former student about the Honors Program has stayed with her over the years and has continued to ring true: “You can use the Honors Program as a credential, or you can use it as an opportunity.”

Sandy has worked to make sure the students take advantage of those opportunities they have through the program and at KU – and she says the increase in staff and resources have ensured that options continue to expand. “When we switched from saying that Honors is about Honors courses to saying it’s also about participation and outside activities, that helps build the community,” she says.

She credits former Honors Program Director Barbara Schowen with creating the Undergraduate Research Symposium for Honors students, which has now become a University-wide initiative with its own office in Strong Hall, thanks primarily to the efforts of Honors Program staff, who dedicated their time and energy.

“The Honors Program gets students a good jump-start in their college career, then the research allows them to get acquainted in their departments – because their departments and faculty mentoring are the most important for them moving forward,” she says.

Sandy does not have a definite plan for what she will do with her retirement, but, much like Honors students, she has lots of options.

With four grandchildren in Oklahoma City and Memphis (three of whom will be in college next year), she has some traveling to do to visit them and her grown children, Sean, an electrical engineer, and Dawn, an occupational therapist, both KU graduates. She also plans to join book clubs and other fun groups, continue her research into rock-and-roll music, as well as volunteer.

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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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