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The University of West Georgia is home to the first Honors College in the state. Our first dean, Dr. Donald Wagner, established an Honors College built on three guiding principles:

1.   an Honors education requires a commitment of resources for exceptional students seeking an exceptional educational experience;

2.   a core concept of an Honors-level education is faculty-directed undergraduate research; and

3.   the primary mission of an Honors College is to meet the needs of its institution's most academically gifted students,  and our award-winning staff is guided by that mission daily.

As a former student of Dr. Wagner's, I was excited to begin working under his tutelage in the Honors College more than a decade ago. Taking over for Dr. Wagner as the Dean in the Spring of 2012, I have continued his work in ensuring our most gifted students have every opportunity to reach their full potential as scholars. When I became Dean, the Honors College underwent a transformation, now called the Honors College & Trans-disciplinary Programs. In addition to our general curricula for Honors students, there are five units within the College:

  • the Office of Undergraduate Research
  • International Services and Programs
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • the Advanced Academy
  • Debate

While these programs are quite diverse in the kinds of services and opportunities they provide to UWG undergraduates, there is a common theme running through all of them: exceptional students seeking an exceptional education. From the gifted high school juniors and seniors attending college early as part of the Advanced Academy, to the students who come to UWG from outside the United States to earn their degree, to the students from across campus who matriculate through Interdisciplinary Studies pursuing a degree which transcends any one academic discipline, to the participants who compete intercollegiately as part of UWG's nationally renowned debate program, to the undergraduates who are presenting their research at national conferences and earning scholarships to the world's most elite graduate schools, the students who come through the Honors College & Trans-Disciplinary Programs are exceptional in both their efforts, their goals, and their achievements.

As an alumnus of West Georgia and employee for nearly two decades, I speak from experience when I say no UWG student who is intellectually capable of excelling will be denied such opportunities. When you choose to participate in UWG's Honors College, you aren't just choosing to "Go West" -  you are also choosing to "Go Best!"

Dr. Michael Hester
Dean, Honors College & Trans-Disciplinary Programs
and Director of UWG Debate
University of West Georgia

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