Texas Tech University

Honors College Welcomes New Students with Convocation and Sorting Ceremony

Cara Vandergriff

September 10, 2015

Students are welcomed to Honors College with a ceremony sorting them into one of four houses.

Honors College Sorting Ceremony

The Honors College at Texas Tech University held its annual Convocation and Sorting ceremony Wednesday (Sept. 9) evening at the United Supermarkets Arena.

The ceremony served as a welcoming of new students to the Honors College as well as a sorting process to place new students into one of four “houses” within the college. The four houses, Bell, Lawless, Haragan and Winer, are meant to represent knowledge, integrity, service and courage, respectively. These are the four pillars the Honors College was founded on, by which its community strives to live every day.

In addition, the houses recognize the vision and persistence of the four administrators who co-founded the Honors College at Texas Tech, each of whom has a house with their name. The four-house system aims to both welcome freshmen and inspire community, giving students a sense of belonging and inspiring inter-college competition.

Michael San Francisco, dean of the Honors College and founder of the house system, said the houses were formed with the cooperation and community of students in mind.

Photo Gallery

“Based on my experience with the house system at my high school in India, where we worked to accrue points for our houses based on performance in academics, athletics, theatre and more, I promoted the idea with the Honors College faculty and staff,” San Francisco said. “The virtual unanimous support has allowed us to develop four houses around the ideals of the Honors College: knowledge, integrity, service and courage. Each of these houses is named for an individual who was important in the growth and development of the college in 1999.”

Sarah Timmons, senior academic adviser of the Honors College and staff head of Bell House, said the house system exists to create, build and strengthen the Honors College community.

Honors College Sorting Ceremony

“We hope that the House system gives our students a deeply-felt identity as Honors students and as members of their particular house,” Timmons said, “but also a place of belonging as part of the larger college community.”

Since the house system was introduced in 2014, each new member of the Honors College has been randomly sorted into a house upon entrance, and is then able to participate in service and social activities planned by house captains. Past activities have included the Winer House Tennis Tournament and various fundraisers for Bayless Elementary School.

“We want our students to see themselves as both members of a small community where they may find a sense of homecoming and as a part of something much larger than themselves,” Timmons said.

With each house representing one of the ideological pillars of the college, the Honors College hopes to create an encouraging and honorable environment in which students can succeed. San Francisco said the convocation and sorting ceremony represents a call to service, driven through knowledge, with courage and at all times with integrity.

“Knowledge, integrity, service and courage,” Timmons said, “are the characteristics that embody the environment we hope to create here in Honors, and we encourage our students to carry these forward with them.”