Kelley Honors Program Is A Transformative Experience

During the past two years, the Kelley Honors Program has seen an 80 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in the program. With 106 Kelley undergrads enrolled in the program this fall, they account for nearly 10 percent of Kelley's undergraduate population.

Kelley senior Aaron Buchanan, a finance, supply chain management, and international studies major is a member of Kelley Honors. Below he has written about the benefits of being a member.

As I begin my senior year at Kelley, I am often asked by fellow classmates why I chose to apply for Kelley Honors. I am always pleased to explain that the Honors Program is active and our administration is committed!

Despite common stigma, Honors students receive more than “a small notation in the corner of your diploma.” In fact, Honors students have several opportunities to excel and receive a transformational educational experience that distinguishes them from the pack.

Here are a few of the events and activities that the Honors Program offers:

  • Annual Kelley Retreat: Fall 2014 marked Kelley Honors’ second-annual retreat. Students had the opportunity to engage with alumni and professors to learn about Transitions and International Experiences. Afterward, an Improv group came to entertain the students and facilitate leadership exercises. Past speakers have included Jill Wilson (Recruiter at EY), Dr. Dawn Whitehead (Director of International Initiatives), Gagan Dhillon (Founder of, and Karen White (Research Development & Commercialization Facilitator). Next year’s retreat will feature a fresh theme and a new round of guest speakers.
  • Networking Opportunities with Young Alumni: No less than four times per year, Honors students are given the opportunity to meet with members of the Young Alumni Council in a small-group setting over coffee or a meal. This comes at no cost and allows the students to form a personal relationship with alumni and expand their professional network.
  • National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS): This coming school year, Honors students will be able to apply for one of four opportunities to attend a paid trip to the National Character and Leadership Symposium at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. The NCLS is one of the foremost symposia that brings together students and business/military leaders to discuss the formation of sound character and how best to emerge as an influential leader. I can say from first-hand experience that the symposium will challenge attendees to lead with sound ethical character and allow students to form lasting friendships with their cadet host.
  • Company Visits and Networking: March 28th marked Kelley Honors' first organized visit to a local company. We visited Honda Manufacturing of Indiana to tour their facilities and understand what their company looks for when making hiring decisions. Honda hires from Kelley seeking to fill positions that utilize each Kelley major. We are currently working to plan one company visit per semester exclusively for Kelley Honors.
  • Dinner at Dean Cochran’s Residence: This past spring, all Kelley Honors students received an invitation to attend dinner at Dean Cochran’s home. This casual event allowed students to engage with the Dean, Honors faculty, and fellow students over great food from Bub’s Burgers and rounds of cornhole!
  • Employer and Student Advisory Board Breakfast: The breakfast serves as an opening for students to “network with top employers, discuss current employment trends, and hear from the CPO and faculty about Kelley updates and initiatives.” This annual event is a great way for students to brush-up on their networking skills and have an impact on the CPO by making suggestions for improvement.
  • Honors Receptions: Periodically, when guest speakers visit Kelley for speaking engagements, Honors students are invited to attend a reception with the invitee. Past events have included receptions with John Augustine (Chief Investment Strategist, Fifth Third Bank) and the American Whistleblower Tour.
  • CFO Roundtable: On Friday, September 26, 30 Kelley Honors students will be shuttled to Bloomington to attend a roundtable event with several CFOs from America’s leading corporations. This event is exclusive to Honors and will provide an invaluable interaction with our nation’s top financial officers.

In addition to these events, Honors students have designated advisers, smaller class sizes, and receive an Honors notation on their transcript. I can personally say that the friends you make in the Honors Program and Honors I-core will stay with you throughout college! The Honors group from the class of 2015 is a close-knit group and we continue to go out to dinner, have game nights, and attend sporting events. I do not believe we would be the group we are if it weren’t for the highly-competitive atmosphere of Kelley Honors.

Do yourself the honor today, and visit the website to apply! It will be worth it all!