The dean named P. Albert Duhamel (English Department) as director of the Office of Special Programs. He and Walter Langlois (Romance Languages, a former Scholar of the College at Yale), and Joseph Sheerin (Classics) moved into a vacant office on the first floor of Gasson and they began selecting students for the new Honors Program.
In March a proposal was submitted to the Carnegie Foundation for a grant to fund the Honors Program. John Honey, executive associate director of the foundation, visited the campus. In June the foundation awarded a grant of $84,700 to support experimental courses, library acquisitions, summer programs for high-school administrators interested in developing Avanced Placement programs and for maintaining liason with these schools. James McIntyre was added to the Admissions Office to recruit talented students and Francis Mackin, S.J., assistant to the president, became involved in searching for qualified students from Jesuit high schools across the country.
In April Dean Casey appointed Carney Gavin and Daniel Geagan '59 as the first Scholars of the College. With the consultation of their faculty advisors, they were free to plan their own program of studies for their entire senior year and to attend any classes they wished. They were required only to submit an honors thesis, and they were expected to graduate Summa Cum Laude, which they did.
In September the Honors Program/Office of Special Programs moved to new quarters at the east end of the old college library, which had been partitioned into office space for various administrative activities. Special sections of English (taught by Richard Hughes), philosophy (Donald McCarthy), and history (Dean Burnham) were initiated for selected students.
Six women were admitted, technically to the School of Education but de facto to the Honors Program of the College of Arts and Sciences, from which they received their A.B. degrees in 1963. The move proved controversial in administrative circles, however, and no further women were admitted into A&S until the College became fully coeducational in 1969.
Zeno Vendler, S.J. was now teaching philosophy to freshmen, Paul Michaud oriental history to sophomores, Lawrence Jones was teaching Russian, and Joseph D. Gauthier, S.J. was now supervising the junior-year abroad program and advising on graduate fellowships.
In June Albert M. Folkard (English) was named second director of the Program. In September the freshman year of the "pilot program" Honors course that came to be called Modern Man was initiated (taught by Prof. Folkard), as a result of the positive endorsement of a report prepared by a committee of B.C. faculty for a Danforth Foundation conference on the liberal arts. All subsequent Honors Program students have since been required to take two years of this course or its successor The Western Cultural Tradition.
As part of a university-wide self-study, a curriculum committee chaired by Edward Hirsh (English) recommended that honors students write a "graduation" or "liberal arts essay" and be able to do joint BA/MA degrees. The recommendation of the essay became the basis for the subsequent senior-thesis requirement. The first graduate of the BA/MA program was Wendell Bowerman in 1966.
In September a second, team-taught section of the first-year Modern Man course was put in place, led by Andrew Von Hendy (English), to see whether the course worked best when taught by a group of faculty or a single instructor. At the end of the year the single-instructor model was chosen and has been the norm since.
The sophomore year of the Modern Man course was inaugurated as a result of planning by an interdepartmental committee. A feature of the course in its first years was appearances by two guest lecturers from the Boston academic community each week, in addition to regular class meetings.
The first Honors Program students went to Manchester College, Oxford, for their junior year. The relationship with Manchester has continued to the present.
Dean Thomas P. O'Malley, S.J. opened the Scholar of the College program to students other than Honors Program members.
The name of the Modern Man course was changed to The Western Cultural Tradition.
Mark O'Connor (History), an instructor since 1977 in the Modern Man course, was named Assistant Director of the Program.
In July J. A. Appleyard, S.J. became fourth director of the Program.
Mary Joe Hughes (History), an instructor since 1979 in the Modern Man and Western Cultural Tradition courses, was named an Assistant Director of the Program.
Exactly which anniversary this was turned out to be the subject of somedebate, however. The announcements and invitations assumed that what wasbeing celebrated was the completion of 30 years of a program that came into existence in 1959. Letters from graduates argued otherwise. Diligent research ensued, but it proved by no means simple to reconcile all the claims. If one considers the crucial events to be the naming of the first director, the opening of a special office, the establishment of a four-year program and designation of the first Scholars of the College, then the Honors Program began in 1958 and this was the 32nd anniversary of the Program. If one takes as decisive the recruiting of the first sizable group of students and the initiation of honors sections of freshman courses, then the crucial date is 1957 and this was the 33rd anniversary. If one accords primatial significance to the selection of the original guinea pig and the gleam in Dean Casey's eye, then the Honors Program came into existence in 1956 and this was the 34th anniversary. Of course, if one considers the present Program to be in some sense continuous with the old A.B. Honors degree program begun in 1935, then this was the 55th anniversary!
One thing at least seems clear: There was no justification whatsoever for calling this the 30th Anniversary of the Honors Program.
Students who enter as freshmen in 1995 will also be allowed to do either a senior thesis or one of several new senior seminars, on an experimental basis.
In December the final class of a seminar on T. S. Eliot brought to an end 50 years of teaching at B.C. by Prof. Albert M. Folkard, second director of the Honors Program. After the class there was a surprise reception for Prof. Folkard by colleagues and students. The guests included Emma Folkard, his wife of more than 50 years.
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