The many opportunities available through the L&S Honors Program enable our most highly motivated students to realize their full potential at UW-Madison. The results our students achieve are truly remarkable: some of our Sophomore Apprentices have co-authored scholarly research papers with their professors, and many senior honors thesis students are the primary author on published research. Often, honors students are also leaders on campus and in the greater Madison community. Through our Leadership Trust awards, students have taken the initiative to develop projects that serve the campus and community. WiscLit, for example, has partnered with the Madison Literacy Council to erase the backlog of people wanting to acquire literacy skills; the Student Emergency Medical Services program has trained large numbers of students as first responders in emergencies; and the Wiscipedia Project has created an on-line, up-datable, student-authored guide to navigating the university.
Over and over again we hear students say that the Honors Program "has made an overwhelming difference in my college experience and achievement." In a publicly funded institution where most state funds are earmarked for specified purposes, private donations offer critical flexibility. The L&S Honors Program is dependent upon private giving for many of the programs it conducts and the opportunities it offers students. Many of our Senior Honors Thesis grants and our Leadership Trust Awards are funded by the generosity of private donors. We have used gift funds to provide modest stipends to the dedicated student Honors Fellows working in our former Diversity Dialogues course, and we have been able to supplement standard research awards to allow students to travel to Cairo to examine 10th century manuscripts, study neutrinos in Antarctica, or learn about Cypriot sculpture in Sarasota. The "return on investment" for such giving is enormous, for our donors truly provide "the margin of excellence" in a great public research university. It is such private donations that enable our program's staff to envision and to undertake new initiatives as well as to meet unexpected needs to support student work and enrich student experiences.
Recently, all current and past Honors Program directors have joined together to pledge nearly $60,000 to create the Honors Program Director's Fund Endowment. Below are a few examples of how your contributions could help our students. Any amount contributed is a valuable investment. For example, if 50 people donated just $30 each, we would have enough funds to support one additional Sophomore Honors Summer Research Apprentice to engage in a first research project or to provide travel support for a student's archival research in Europe.
If you are able, we hope you will consider making an investment in the future of honors students at Wisconsin.
Charles T. Snowdon
Director, L&S Honors Program
Hilldale Professor of Psychology
L&S Honors Program Funds
The Honors Program Director's Endowment Fund was initiated by Charles T. Snowdon (UW Psychology Professor) and B. Ann Lindsey, and Cyrena N. (UW English Professor) and Lee G. Pondrom (UW Physics Professor). This fund is intended to provide on-going, long-term support for the Honors Program in the College of Letters and Science. The Director of the Letters and Science Honors Program has the discretion to determine how the fund will be used.
This fund has proved to be of critical significance in enabling the program to meet unexpected needs and to enable it to start pilot versions of initiatives before more permanent funding is available.
Below are some ideas for how your gifts, large or small, can help support honors students and the Honors Program. Please remember that even small gifts add up and can help us do big things!
$1,000 Senior Thesis Research: Support for one senior honors thesis project.
Support for the Honors Program's UW Collegiate Forensic League
(sponsored by the L&S Honors Program)
Give On-Line (Friends of Forensics Endowment Fund)
Give On-Line (Forensics Day-to-Day/Operational Expenses)
Restarted by students themselves three years ago, in 2005 the Forensics Club won Eighth Place in the National Forensics Association's President's Sweepstakes, Division I. This is like finishing in the top 10 in the NCAA's if you are an athlete. It costs $30,000 a year to provide the most minimal support for a team of 20-25 students -- $10,000 for hourly wages for a part-time coach, and $20,000 in entry fees and travel costs for the team. The Honors program assumed sponsorship of the team three years ago, and we literally do not know from one year to the next where the funds will be found to pay for it. A gift of $100 will pay the travel and entry fees of one student in one major competition; $800 will pay for a student's costs for the entire year; $10,000 would fund the coach for one year. We could endow the team's costs in perpetuity for $600,000-$750,000, and a single, sizable "lead gift" could help us start toward that goal.