Freshman Reading Project: Welcome

Each year the Honors Program selects a book to be read by all incoming first-year Honors students. The Freshman Reading Project promotes community through the common experience of reading and discussing a thought-provoking text. We ask that all incoming students complete the reading assignment before arriving at Baylor in the fall.

New Honors Program students will attend the Honors Freshman Assembly in Bennett Auditorium on Wednesday, September 3, 7:30-9:30 p.m. At this assembly, Dr. Andrew Wisely, Director of the Honors Program, will address ideas brought forth from the reading-project text, and you will sign up for a small-group discussion led by upper-division Honors Program students. Prior to the small-group discussion, you will write a brief (roughly 3 pages) critical essay in response to an assigned essay prompt. These essays will be evaluated by the discussion leaders and will be kept on file to serve as the basis for awards occasionally given by the Honors Program. Note: Successful completion of the Freshman Reading Project is required for continuation in the Honors Program.

The Text

The Great Tradition is a compilation of short excerpts from some of the most important thinkers and authors in the history of Western civilization. From Plato to Petrarch, John Calvin to CS Lewis, these short readings highlight what it means to be a thinking human being.

For the Freshman Reading Project, students are asked to read four selections--three chosen by the Honors Program staff and one of the student's choosing. The three assigned readings are

  • Sertillanges, "The Intellectual Life," pp. 572-578;
  • Weil, "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies . . . ," pp. 588-594;
  • Lewis, "On the Reading of Old Books," pp. 595-600.
The fourth selection can be anything from Plato to Voegelin; choose whatever looks most intriguing to you.

Purchasing the Book

You can purchase The Great Tradition at the Baylor University Bookstore, but the book can also be found at many other traditional and online retailers.

Richard M. Gamble, ed., The Great Tradition (ISI Books, 2007)

ISBN-13: 978-1-935191-56-8

Freshman Assembly: Wednesday, September 3

The Honors Freshman Assembly will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 3, in Bennett Auditorium. Bennett Auditorium is located at the east end of Draper Academic Building. Please mark this date on your calendar. At the end of the Assembly, students will sign up for a small group discussion where they will discuss their reading of The Great Tradition. A brief, three-page essay will be due prior to the start of the small group discussion. The prompt will be announced at a later time.