In 2023-2024, UNM Honors will recognize its 10th anniversary of becoming one of the largest honors colleges in the nation. While it was founded in 1957, it was structured as a program until 2012 when the UNM Faculty Senate and Board of Regents approved it to become a degree-granting college. In Fall 2013, the first cohort of students entered the newly restructured Honors College.

Thus, in 2023-2024, we invite our current students, alumni, colleagues, and friends to help us celebrate our accomplishments and evolution as a college over these last 10 years.

  • Sept.15, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.: Opening Celebration Lecture and Walking Tour
    • Join us for an exciting lecture in the Honors Forum, discussing the ways in which UNM has chosen to memorialize important moments in a series of murals all across campus. The Honors College’s own Troy R. Lovata (Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology), from The University of Texas (Ph.D. and M.A.) and Colorado State University (B.A.) will lead us on a walking tour of some of the campus’ most interesting, exciting, and memorable murals. Stay after the tour for a reception and fill out our survey about what you think the Honors College 10th Anniversary Mural should look like. 
  •  Oct.16-20: Homecoming
    • The Discovery Lecture Series teams up with the Anniversary committee to bring Honors Alumnus Zach Hively, founder of Casa Urraca Press, to talk about his journey from Honors student to publisher of some of New Mexico’s best and brightest writers. Free and open to the public. Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 12-1:15 p.m. in the Honors Forum.
    • The Honors Alumni Chapter invites you to celebrate our community with an all-welcome homecoming event, on the evening of Oct. 20, in the Honors Forum from 5-8 p.m.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public are invited to attend all the events, and information about location, parking, dates, and times can be found on the Honors College website:

The University of New Mexico Honors Program was founded in 1957 by Professor Dudley Wynn as part of a national movement in American Higher Education. Inspired, in part, by the tutorial system established in the 1800s at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the American Honors movement began in the 1920s in Eastern private colleges. Many honors programs began after World War II when a surge of highly qualified students seeking higher education exceeded the capacities of private universities. Current modeled honors programs began in public universities around the beginning of the second half of the 20th century.

The University of New Mexico General Honors Program was founded in 1957 with a $30,000 grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York. Dudley Wynn, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the leaders of the National Collegiate Honors Council movement at the time, started the program with thirty students. The Program was integrated permanently into the University in 1961. The Honors Program stressed intensive individual study on the part of students combined with personable interaction with faculty members such as small seminar-style classes, mentoring, and academic apprenticeship. The objective has been to cultivate a more enriched experience. On April 12, 1988, the Regents of the University of New Mexico formally designated the west wing ground floor of the Humanities Building the Dudley Wynn Honors Center.

In doing so, the University acknowledged the pioneering efforts of Professor Wynn who, as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, drafted plans for a sequence of small seminars in general studies to be called the General Honors Program.

The mission of the UNM Honors Program and the Honors College has been to provide challenging opportunities for intensive, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural, liberal-arts education to highly motivated, talented, and creative undergraduates in all majors and to build a community of scholars. The mission has been modified, expanded, and revised over the years to adapt to the changing standards for honors education as well as shifting demographics, social and technological advances, economic, cultural, environmental, political influences, and trends locally and globally. The unique grading system, A, CR, NC, is designed to give students the ability to take risks and try new, difficult fields of studies without putting their GPA at risk.

The structure of the Honors Program/College provides academic and social opportunities and reflects the full diversity of the campus and region. The Honors Program at UNM has served as a model and inspiration for many programs across the country. Four of UNM’s five directors, Dudley Wynn, John Howarth, Robert O. Evans, Rosalie C. Otero, as well as Dean Greg Lanier have served as president of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Otero has also served as president of the Western Regional Honors Council twice. That UNM should have played a role in setting the standards for honors education in the United States is a testament to the University of New Mexico’s innovative and historic commitment to undergraduate excellence.

Despite New Mexico’s relative financial disadvantages, the UNM honors ideal has given some of our best students world-class opportunities that compare favorably with those offered by prestigious and wealthier universities.