“The thing to realize about the Cook Honors College is that it is designed, right down to the magazines on the tables and the wallpaper on the walls, to foster a life of intellectualism and culture. Many colleges have ‘honors classes’ or an ‘honors program.’ Don’t mistake an ‘honors program’ for the Cook Honors College. First of all, this is a residential immersion program. All freshmen and most sophomores live in the dorm, which is a world apart from the rest of IUP and its remote surroundings. Paintings cover every wall, well-stocked bookshelves line every common room, sculptures and antiques and tapestries are just everywhere, and most of all is it’s available for you to touch, pick up, admire, inspect, or rearrange for a different silhouette. The classrooms, the dorms, the great hall, and the administrative offices are all mixed together in the same building.
“While I was on tour, I noticed that on a single coffee table were The Congressional Record, No. 114-Part II, The New York Times Review of Books, The Economist, Opportunities for the Academic Year Abroad, The Tunnel by William H. Gass, and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. At the reception desk was a three-foot tall stack of the current day’s New York Times, one for each and every student in the college. Two students were in the great hall playing chess next to a Roman bust, while another walked by with a tray of cookies he’d just made in the kitchen. All three were barefoot, since this was also their dorm.”
Don Asher is an internationally-acclaimed author and speaker specializing in professional development and higher education. He is the author of ten books and a contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal's on-line editions, CareerJournal.com and CollegeJournal.com.
Read the Honors College excerpt from Asher's Cool Colleges book.