An Honors program was founded at Wichita State in 1957, one of the earliest in the country. In 1978, the Honors program was named after Emory K. Lindquist, Rhodes Scholar, 8th University President and the 1st President of Wichita State University. In one of his most memorable speeches, The Idea of a University, presented November 11, 1963 in the Field House on the newly named Wichita State University campus, Dr. Lindquist roused the crowd with his vision of education encompassing both intellect and responsibility.

An Honors College was created by the WSU faculty in 2013, and in 2014, the faculty and Kansas Board of Regents approved the new Honors Baccalaureate degree; one of the few self-designed plans of study available in the country and the only one in this region, the H.B. joins professional study with humanistic, social scientific, or scientific work, and culminates in a thesis or comprehensive project.

In the spirit of Dr. Lindquist, requirements to earn Honors distinctions remain flexible and interdisciplinary. The Honors College curriculum is designed to foster intellectual challenge, innovation, collaboration across campus, and service to academic, creative, and civic communities. 

In April 2015, the college was named after generous benefactors, Dorothy and Bill Cohen, whose gift endows enhancement scholarships to support study abroad, internships in the public sector, travel to national conferences, and service learning. The Cohen gift also supports Honors faculty fellows and funds student leadership development through problem-solving education.

The Cohens talked about their belief in students and their hope that the Honors College will continue joining knowledge and innovative to grow visionaries. 

College Charter

The founding College Charter urges students, faculty, and staff to uphold four pillars to form an innovative, intellectual, professional, and transformative community.

In the Induction ceremony to welcome new students, we re-establish an Honors College at Wichita State each year by repeating the words of the Preamble to the Charter that articulates this flexible and ambitious mindset.

The Cohen Honors College aims to benefit the university and community by:


  • Attracting and retaining academically exceptional and highly motivated students from the Wichita area, the region, the nation, and the world

  • Enhancing the recruitment of high-achieving transfer students

  • Increasing undergraduate enrollment

  • Increasing student-faculty collaboration in teaching, research and service

  • Attracting and retaining high-quality faculty and staff

  • Creating compelling connections across disciplines and with the greater Wichita community

  • Enhancing the academic reputation of the University

The Cohen Honors College aims to benefit students and faculty by:
  • Emphasizing academic rigor along with exploration, creativity, and discovery
  • Providing Honors students individualized advising and priority enrollment
  • Engaging students in intellectual dialogue and real-world problems
  • Facilitating undergraduate research across campus
  • Preparing students for top graduate schools, competitive national scholarships, and leadership roles in professional careers
  • Supporting interdisciplinary courses and curriculum development
  • Serving as a curricular laboratory for faculty to experiment with course design and content

Governance: College Councils

Faculty and student participation in university and college governance is vital to the proper functioning and success of the university. The College ByLaws establish the University Honors College Council and outline college policies and governance structure.

Honors alumni and friends are engaged with college decision making through the Advisory Board. 

University Honors College Council

The University Honors College Council is the governing board and decision-making body for the college. The full council meets at least once each semester and is comprised of the Student Council and the Faculty Council. The University Honors College Council is chaired by the Dean and chaired administratively by the Assistant to the Dean.

Honors College Student Council

The Student Council meets every week on Thursday at 5:00pm in Shocker Hall. Anyone is welcome to attend. To bring an idea or concern to the student council, email honorsassistant@wichita.edu

More information and a list of current members can be found on the Student Council web page.

Honors College Faculty Council

The Faculty Council meets monthly with the Dean. The council serves as the curriculum committee for the college. See the Faculty Council page for a members list including email information. 

Cohen Honors Advisory Board

The external Cohen Honors Advisory Board first convened April 22, 2016 with 9 alumni and 2 honorary members. The board meets twice per year to advise the Dean and helps develop student mentorship and opportunities throughout the year. 

James Blakemore (Chair)
Stephen Imbler
Sharon Iorio
Michael Jones
Eric Melgren (Chair Emeritus)
Rebecca Morgan
Diane Oakes
William Pate
Joy Vann-Hamilton
Joan Wagner (Chair Emerita)
Chris Wettig
Dorothy Cohen (Honorary)