About the Campus Honors Program at Illinois

Welcome to the Campus Honors Program!

The Campus Honors Program (CHP) at the University of Illinois is an exciting intellectual and social home for curious, engaged, and diverse students and faculty who are committed to expanding their knowledge and to changing the world for the better. I could not be happier to have the privilege of serving as Director of this successful and lively program. It is a total pleasure to work with and to get to know such terrific, talented young people.

The University of Illinois is a big place, and it is a prestigious Research 1 institution as well, with thriving doctoral programs and internationally prominent research facilities and agendas. And yet, in my time here, I’ve also known this University to be devoted to undergraduate education and the undergraduate experience in ways that aren’t necessarily common at research institutions. Undergraduates are in fact central to this University’s mission: you are why we are here.

Whether you are from Illinois, elsewhere in the U.S., or from another country, we are grateful you have chosen to join us here in Urbana-Champaign, here in our Honors Program as Chancellor’s Scholars, and here at 1205 W. Oregon, the Honors House, a place I hope you’ll want to visit often. At the Honors House, tasty snacks, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, and sodas are always available, and we offer a number of quiet study spots or places to hang out. Several of our classes meet here, and students meet up for study groups in our library (complete with the Great Books, novels, biographies, and board games) or to join Honors Student Council social and academic events.

Our alumni are also always welcome at the House and at our events. I look forward to learning more about you and your postgraduate lives, and I hope you’ll feel free to be in touch.

I have so much admiration and respect for how this generation of students handles challenging and unique circumstances. We will never take the ability to see our students in person for granted again. Thanks to the excellent practices and pandemic-fighting strategies at the University of Illinois, our current students were able to return to nearly 100% in-person programming back in Fall 2021, and today the Honors House is again full of students studying, taking class, doing group projects in our collaborative workspace, and simply hanging out. Our optimism about the future has everything to do with how hard the students worked over the past several years to keep each other and the community safe. Thank you.

I’m so excited about the dynamite classes you have the opportunity to take as part of our outstanding CHP curriculum. Associate Director Anne Price will assist you with all course and registration-related issues. And Associate Director Elizabeth Rockman organizes a fabulous array of co-curricular opportunities for you: our Scholar Adventurer Series and other experiential options offer you the chance to interact with faculty across campus and with community members as well. We regularly offer wonderful travel courses: in 2022, Prof. Andrea Stevens (English) took students on a whirlwind theater tour in Immersive London, and in 2023 Prof. Bob Pahre (Political Science) led Chancellor’s Scholars on an adventurous backpacking trip as part of the course Politics of the National Parks: Yellowstone’s Wilderness. CHP students have the opportunity to participate in the College of LAS’s Honors in Paris course in 2024, and we plan to offer another CHP-sponsored travel class in 2025.

As Chancellor’s Scholars, you all are part of a special overlapping community on campus. The CHP is not a “bubble” in which you only interact with one another. However, via regular CHP coursework, and through the abovementioned co-curricular activities, you do have the opportunity to make the CHP one of your true campus homes. At a big university, CHP is a welcoming harbor, a warm and friendly oasis, as well as an intellectual home. Welcome!

Laurie Johnson
Director, Campus Honors Program

Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures, and affiliated with Comparative and World
Literature and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory

Download the CHP Brochure here to learn more about Campus Honors!