Robert D. Clark Honors College

Robert D. Clark Honors College

Type Public
Established 1960
Dean Terry Hunt
Location Eugene, Oregon, USA

The Robert D. Clark Honors College is a liberal arts honors college within the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1960, it is the oldest honors college in the United States.[1] Its namesake, Robert D. Clark, was a president of the university, 1969 - 1975, and a key contributor to the founding of the honors college. The college is located in Chapman Hall on the University of Oregon campus. For Fall 2015, 1,439 students applied and 240 students enrolled in the college. [2]


In 1928, the university adopted a departmental honors program for juniors and seniors. The program was open to the top 30 percent of the class, and consisted of special readings under professors in students' major departments. In addition, the program concluded in the senior year with an honors thesis and examination. Frank Aydelotte, president of Swarthmore College, introduced such programs into the United States following his own undergraduate experience as an honors student at Oxford University.

In the 1950s, the University's Curricular Review Committee addressed again the honors program offerings. They created the Sophomore Honors Program, which eventually morphed into the Clark Honors College as it exists today. Robert D. Clark, the college's namesake, was a member of the Curricular Review Committee. Since university faculty were concerned that the new program would take away their best students, the committee developed a compromise: students would remain in their major departments, and take only selected general requirements in the Sophomore Honors Program.

Clark was troubled by the program's initial failure, and attributed it to the lack of unity in the university's sophomore and departmental honors programs. Inspired by Knight Dunlap's books on community, Clark created the Honors College during his tenure as university president.

The original home of the Honors College was in the basement of Friendly Hall. The college moved to its current location in Chapman Hall during the 1980s.


The Clark Honors College offers its own freshman literature and history series, replacing the university's general requirements. In addition, honors college students are required to participate in several colloquia, which focus on specific academic fields, and are taught by both honors college professors and experts from other university departments. Students complete a thesis in their major area during the senior year as part of the college's graduation requirements.

All classes are limited to 19 or fewer students, making them stand out from other lower-division courses offered by the university that frequently enroll 100 or more students.


Clark Honors College students currently pay approximately $1,200 in additional tuition per term to support the program ($3,600 per year).[3]

Admission to the college is highly competitive. For Fall 2012 term, 1346 students applied and 228 students entered. The mean grade point average (GPA) of admitted students was 3.91, and the mean Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT, Reading + Math only) score was 1340 (97th/98th percentile).[4]

Students in the Clark Honors College pursue majors in many different areas, throughout all of the university's colleges and professional schools. As of 2005, the Honors College student body consisted of 2.89% Architecture majors; 4.77% Business majors; 0.58% Education majors; 21.68% Humanities majors; 3.90% Journalism majors; 2.75% Music (and Dance) majors; 24.57% Science majors; 16.62% Social Science majors; and 16.23% of students were undeclared.

See also


  1. Honor Programs & Colleges, 4th ed. Peterson's. 2005. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-7689-2141-0.
  2. "Fact Sheets & FAQ". Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  4. Fact Sheet : Admissions : Clark Honors College

Coordinates: 44°02′43″N 123°04′38″W / 44.04519°N 123.07713°W / 44.04519; -123.07713

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