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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Member of the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College pose for a photo on the SDSU campus. Member of the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College pose for a photo on the SDSU campus.

A Commitment to Excellence

The Weber Honors College provides students with a well-rounded curriculum and a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities.
By Katie White

“The classes engage students in real-world issues, giving them a leg up in the global environment of today’s employment market.”

The Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College at San Diego State University is expanding, not just when it comes to the number of students who enroll in the program, but also in curriculum design and opportunities.

SDSU President Emeritus Stephen Weber helped create the honors program with a grant from the President’s Leadership Fund. The honors program made the transition to the Weber Honors College in 2015 and has since grown to more than 1,000 students.

In fall 2017, the Weber Honors College will enroll more than 300 freshmen into the program, its largest incoming class yet. According to Stacey Sinclair, director of the college, the incoming honors students can expect a well-rounded curriculum that focuses on interdisciplinary opportunities.

“What makes the college stand out are the contemporary and challenging classes offered through the honors minor,” said Sinclair. “The classes engage students in real-world issues, giving them a leg up in the global environment of today’s employment market.”

To prepare students for the global workforce, the Weber Honors College requires them to participate in a study abroad program. According to Sinclair, the study abroad requirement allows students to develop a global experience and sensitivity.

Charmagne Jones, the current president of the Weber Honors College Student Society, sees the study abroad requirement as an opportunity to experience the world. The junior lost her father when she was 12 years old and experienced homelessness for more than a decade before she came to SDSU. She’s never been abroad.

“I’m the oldest of five siblings and stayed in San Diego to be close to family and help out,” Jones said. “I want to set an example for my siblings; our lives haven’t always been perfect but I can show them that you are what you make of yourself.”

The kinesiology major will study abroad in China this summer, exploring the country’s life, culture and society. Jones hopes to eventually become a doctor of physical therapy, a goal she formulated after participating in a summer enrichment program through the Weber Honors College.

In addition to study abroad, students within the Weber Honors College are required to participate in at least one of four high-impact learning experiences. Students can select from research, leadership, service and creative activities.

Two years after graduating from SDSU with a degree in biology, Kelsey Dix (‘15) is now attending medical school at Tufts University. Dix says the undergraduate research she participated in at SDSU helped her get into an outstanding postgraduate program.

“My research thesis, which I completed as part of my honors curriculum, gave me significant experience that I was able to draw from during my grad school interviews,” Dix said. “In a sea of science majors, the diverse curriculum that the Weber Honors College offers allowed my academic experience to stand apart from other applicants.”

Like Dix, recent SDSU graduate Shane Wells (‘16) used his experiences within the Weber Honors College during his graduate school interviews. Wells majored in chemistry and minored in Spanish while at SDSU. He also studied abroad in China. During his graduate school interviews with the University of Michigan, Wells was asked how he would help diversify the university’s program.

“As a middle class Caucasian male from California, I did not have much to rely on to that question,” said Wells. “But being able to talk about my experiences in diversity provided by the Weber Honors College was basically my entire response, and I feel it contributed a lot to the outcome of my application.”

Scholarships for study abroad and other programs offered through the Weber Honors College are made possible by the generous contributions of SDSU supporters. Stephen and Susan Weber made a personal contribution of $250,000, and Darlene Shiley gave a gift in the Webers’ honor to name the college.

The Weber Honors College endowment exceeds $11 million, most of it raised during The Campaign for SDSU.