Reflections on J. Harry and Anna Jeanes Academic Honors Week

by Elizabeth Vardaman, Honors Program Associate Director

Dr. Wallace Daniel (formerly dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Honors Program) conceived of the idea of Academic Honors Week during his first year as director of the Honors Program, with an intent to celebrate the scholarly work that students in the Honors Program were doing. He believed that Honors Program students had committed themselves to academic achievements at the highest levels, and in applauding them, he hoped to encourage many disciplines and schools to focus time and attention on the best and brightest within their divisions.

Dr. Daniel presented the idea to Mr. Harry Jeanes, who (with his wife, Anna) proceeded to establish a full-fledged endowment on behalf of the idea, which has since become the annual J. Harry and Anna Jeanes Academic Honors Week, conducted toward the end of each academic year.

Several years ago, the Convocation expanded to recognize distinguished students throughout the College of Arts & Sciences, and it now encompasses all of the colleges and schools at Baylor. For many of us, Honors Week, and the Honors Convocation in particular, have become high points in the academic year, when we have a chance to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our students. As indicated in the Honors Convocation materials, "The visionary desire of Mr. and Mrs. Jeanes"--and, we might add, that of Dr. Daniel--"to recognize intellectual achievement underscores one of the University's fundamental purposes: the pursuit of academic excellence."