The Committee on Standards has established the following standards for this distinction: Students must complete four full credit courses or their equivalent for the academic semester; at least three of the courses must be taken for grades, with no grades below C-; courses taken for CR/NC must receive a grade of CR; no incomplete initiated by the student for non-medical reason may be taken; and a grade point average of 3.5 must be attained.
The Dean's List is calculated each semester. A notation of this honor is made on the student's transcript.
The Honors Program is a distinctive feature of the Colleges, open to qualified students who wish to achieve a high level of excellence in their departmental or individual majors. Working closely with an Honors adviser for the equivalent of one course per semester for two semesters, the student designs a project that is a focused scholarly, experimental, or artistic activity within the Honors field. Its basic value is to afford the student an opportunity for sustained, sophisticated work and for growth in self-understanding as the project develops. Results of Honors work are incorporated in an Honors paper and/or an artistic, musical, or theatrical production. Honors students take a written and an oral Honors examination. The oral is conducted by their individual Honors committee, which consists of two faculty members from the Colleges and a specialist in the field, usually from another college or university. Successful candidates receive their degree with Honors, and that achievement is noted in the Commencement program, as well as on their permanent record. All Honors papers, including supplementary photographic materials and videotapes, are kept in a permanent collection in the Warren Hunting Smith Library. About eight percent of graduating seniors earn Honors.
Although "doing Honors" may assist students in pursuing their professional ambitions after graduation, such preparation is not the only objective of the program. During the more than 60 years that the Honors program has been in existence, it has responded to changing educational needs, often anticipating them. In addition to traditional Honors projects in which the Honors "field" more or less coincides with the student's departmental major, Honors work can be done in interdisciplinary subjects and in areas in which courses are not given. Purposeful off-campus activity, including study abroad, can become part of an Honors project and is encouraged.
Phi Beta Kappa is represented at Hobart and William Smith by the Zeta Chapter of New York. Each spring, students from the junior and senior classes of both Colleges are chosen to become members. This is the highest academic honor an undergraduate can achieve and is based on their GPA and breadth of coursework across the divisions.
Other scholastic collegiate honor societies include: Dobro Slovo (the national Slavic honor society); Epsilon Alpha Kappa (the American Studies honor society); Eta Sigma Phi (the honorary society for classical studies); Japanese National Honor Society"College Chapter; Lambda Pi Eta (the national communications honor society); Omicron Delta Epsilon (the international honor society for economics); Pi Delta Phi (the national French honor society); Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor society); and Psi Chi (the international honor society in psychology).
Founded in 1953 and Greek for "Honored Women," Hai Timiai is the senior honor society at William Smith. Its members are chosen by the outgoing senior members each year for their outstanding achievements in scholarship, leadership, character, and service.
The Laurel Society is the sophomore and junior class honor society for William Smith women, which was founded in 1998 to honor the College's 90th anniversary. Women who are selected for membership have demonstrated a commitment to the community through their involvement on campus, which may include leadership ability, participation in clubs, organizations, or athletics, academic achievement, social awareness and community service.
The Hobart Druid Society was formed in 1903 to bring together a group of senior leaders to further the ideals of the College: character, loyalty, and leadership. According to legend, the Seneca brave Agayentah presented a Hobart student with his oar at Charter Day in the late 1800s as a reminder not to forget those who have come before. The passing of the oar at each subsequent Charter Day, therefore, symbolizes the link between generations of five to seven Hobart men, chosen by their peers, who epitomize those cardinal virtues.
Also founded in 1903, Chimera is the junior honor society and acknowledges those men at the College who, as sophomores, exemplify those same cardinal virtues recognized in the Druid Society. In addition to their academic accomplishments, they are involved in the Hobart and greater Geneva community and serve as role models for their classmates. Like their Druid counterparts, Chimerans are inducted on Charter Day.
The Orange Key honor society entered Hobart history in 1923 to honor those rising sophomores who had distinguished themselves in their first year at the Colleges. Nominated by faculty and staff for their demonstrated character, loyalty, leadership, and academic standing, Orange Key members have had significant involvement in the Hobart and greater Geneva community, and have served as role models for their classmates.
Endowed Funds and Scholarship
A considerable number of endowed scholarships and prizes are among the memorial and commemorative funds that have been established at the Colleges over the past 150 years. In addition to these endowed funds, grants in support of scholarship aid, prize awards, library support, and other special purposes are received annually from generous friends. A list of endowed funds and awards is listed under Directories.