College of Business Honors Program


Learning to develop and nurture a diverse network of colleagues upon whom you can rely for advice, support, and encouragement throughout your business career is an essential leadership skill. The Undergraduate Honors Program in the College of Business is designed to develop high-potential students into strong business leaders who not only excel intellectually, but also understand that with success comes responsibility to serve their communities, their alma mater, and each other. The assistant dean for honors and the students in the honors program cohort will work together to encourage each of the College of Business's 2,800 undergraduates to participate in honors activities during their four years at Illinois-honors societies, James Scholars, Campus Honors Program, honors credit learning agreements, leadership opportunities, international opportunities, scholarships, etc. The honors program for the College of Business should benefit all undergraduates and not just the students in the honors cohort.

Student Selection

Each year 30-40 incoming freshman will be selected to be part of the honors cohort. The cohort will be selected based on multiple criteria. In addition to academic achievement, candidates will be evaluated on their leadership skills, social diversity, creativity, and community service activities. The Assistant Dean for Honors will make the final selections. The first group of freshman students for the Honors Program entered the College of Business in the fall 2004 semester. There is not an alternate admissions opportunity into the College of Business Honors Program. Only high school seniors are invited to join the program.

The Program

The heart of the honors program will be the students selected to be College of Business honors students. Those students will work with the assistant dean for honors to encourage all business undergraduates to participate in an honors activity. Students identified for the honors program should demonstrate qualities that put them in the top rank of the college. Such qualities may include leadership, intellectual talent, community service, etc. Most of the activities for the honors cohort will be concentrated in the students' freshman and sophomore years. The framework of the honors program for juniors and seniors will recognize the commitment to major that is required of these students.

The components of the honors program include:

  • A seminar series, "Conversation with Leaders," for honors students with business leaders-local, regional, and national-to raise student expectations concerning their career choices by exposing them to highly successful local, regional, and national College of Business alumni.
  • A mentorship program based on the idea of "mentoring chain reaction" to teach students to rely on each other for support and counsel and begin to develop a life-long network of business contacts. Upper-class honors students will mentor underclass honors students. Recent honors alumni will mentor upper-class honors students. And potentially experienced honors alumni will mentor recent honors alumni.
  • Each honors student will serve as a Business Ambassador, providing service to the College of Business, to bond students with the College of Business.
  • Each honors student will participate in an international experience during the four years in the College of Business to observe businesses functioning in an international environment to reinforce the concept of business as a global entity operating in a diverse world.
  • Each honors student will be required to have a leadership experience, using the current campus and College of Business resources that are available to undergraduates to develop skills related to self-awareness, self-management, interpersonal relationships, and organizational leadership.
  • The honors program will offer social activities for honors students-dinner at the home of the assistant dean for honors, pizza nights, games nights, etc.
  • The assistant dean for honors will serve as an advisor for honors students.
  • All activities of the College of Business honors program will be coordinated with the Campus Honors Program to provide opportunities for students in the College of Business Honors Program to interact with honors students from other colleges.


The College of Business will offer a renewable scholarship to each student invited to join the Honors Program. The scholarships will be renewable for up to four years for students in the Honors Program.

Assistant Dean for Honors

Dr. John Hedeman, Assistant Dean for Honors, is director of the College of Business Honors Program. He can be reached at the College of Business at 217-333-2740 and

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