Honors College receives a new name that represents education excellence

WKU President Gary Ransdell watches the revealing of the new signs for the dedication of the Dixie and Peter Mahurin Honors College on Friday, April 7. Ransdell, who spoke at the event, said the Honors College has a “focus on intellectual ability, drive, determination—it’s not always about IQ.”

Rebekah Alvey

The Honors College received a new name Friday, representing a dedication and passion for learning. Students and faculty gathered outside the Honors College International Center for the dedication of the college to Dixie and Peter Mahurin. New signage on the building was unveiled at the ceremony.

The previously named Honors College is now the Dixie and Peter Mahurin Honors College, matching other schools at WKU like Potter College and Gordon Ford School of Business.

Craig Cobane, executive director of the Honors College, said any college has a higher status once named.

In his opening remarks, President Gary Ransdell said the building is a way to elevate education.

The Honors College consists of 1,300 students with faculty from across the globe. The building also houses offices and facilities reserved for international students.

David Holland, owner of Signature Signs, the company that completes lettering across campus, said there were some barriers to putting up the lettering due to weather. He said they wanted the unveiling to be a big moment, so they had to wait until a day or two ahead of the event to start.

The Mahurin family has been involved with WKU for a long time. President Ransdell said he has been working with the family for 20 years.

Both Dixie Mahurin and Peter Mahurin are WKU alumni and have established many programs making them vital to WKU, like the Mahurin Endowed Professorship in Gifted Studies.

The family also gave a gift that helped move the headquarters of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children to WKU. Peter Mahurin was a founding member of the WKU Foundation, and Dixie Mahurin is a founding member of the WKU Sisterhood.

At the dedication, their daughter Sarah Jo Mahurin, dean of Timothy Dwight College at Yale University, gave remarks about what the Honors College meant to her family, saying WKU has always been a fabric of her family.

In her remarks, Mahurin explained how her parents always emphasized a passion of learning and making higher education available.

She said they taught her she could do anything and learn anything and always made reading and learning enjoyable.

“They taught me that being an honors student has a lot to do with being an honorable person,” Mahurin said.

Ransdell said the college has a focus on intellectual ability, drive and determination. He said it is not always about IQ, but about working hard.

“The Honors College puts bright students in an opportunity to do something special,” Ransdell said.

Cobane explained how one of the main purposes of the Honors College is to change the world. He said the college is an agency of change and helps students achieve big dreams, emphasized by a focus on global study and scholarship.

Ransdell said the Mahurin family was chosen to be the name of the college because of their dedication to gifted education and because WKU is a university that recognizes its supporters.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]