Alden Smith Appointed Director Of Honors Program

Sept. 3, 2004
News Photo 2174Dr. Alden Smith

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. has announced the appointment of Dr. Alden Smith as director of the Honors Program and associate dean in the Honors College.

Smith will succeed the late F. Ray Wilson, the program's most recent director and longtime professor of biology, who passed away in July while with a study abroad program in Italy. While serving in his new role, Smith will continue as chair of the classics department and director of the University Scholars program for the 2004-05 academic year.

"It is an honor to succeed so dynamic and inspiring a person as Ray Wilson as director of the Honors Program and to have the opportunity to work closely as an associate dean with Tom Hibbs, dean of the Honors College," Smith said. "The Honors Program, now 45 years old, has long been a vital part of the university's goal of educating students for a life of service and faith. Working with the great team that we already have in place, I hope to be able to enhance and develop the learning community in the Honors Program and the entire Honors College. Cicero once said that honor nourishes the arts, and our goal will be to infuse the spirit of that statement into every aspect of the Honors College."

"Although we remain deeply saddened by the loss of Ray Wilson, we have in Alden Smith someone who shares Ray's enormous enthusiasm for teaching and for collaborative research between faculty and students," Hibbs said. "Alden has helped turn the Baylor classics department into one of the best in the entire country. We have every confidence that the Honors Program will enjoy similar success under his direction."

A Pennsylvania native, Smith studied for two years at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome before receiving his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Dickinson College in 1981. He earned a master's degree from the University of Vermont in 1983 and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. Smith's teaching career began at Vermont, followed by appointments at Penn and Rutgers University, where he was an assistant professor from 1990-94. He joined the Baylor classics faculty in 1994 and has served as chair of the classics department since 1999 and director of the University Scholars program since 2000.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Smith's scholarly interests are in Latin poetry, specifically the poetry of Virgil and Ovid. His books include "Poetic Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Virgil," published in 1997 by the University of Michigan Press, and "The Primacy of Vision in Virgil's Aeneid," which will be published in 2005 by the University of Texas Press. In addition to his own research, he has directed numerous Honors theses on topics ranging from C.S. Lewis to Greek history and works closely with students in planning their schedules and careers. He also serves as director of the Baylor in Italy summer study-abroad program.

Smith has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including the American Philological Association's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics (2003), the Sonny and Virginia Wallace Award for Outstanding Teaching (2001), Baylor Honors Program Professor of the Year (2000), Sigma Chi Award for Outstanding Instructor at Rutgers (1992) and the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Pennsylvania (1986).

Smith's professional affiliations include the Vergilian Society, where he currently serves as interim president, the American Philological Association, Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Archaeological Institute of America, International Association of Classical Archaeology, Texas Classical Association and American Classical League. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Waco.

Two years ago, Baylor established the Honors College, which was one of the first major academic initiatives to be implemented as part of Baylor 2012, the university's 10-year vision. The Honors College brings together four interdisciplinary undergraduate programs: the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts.

Created in 1959, the Honors Program supplements traditional degree requirements and majors in all departments and schools of the university by offering more challenging classes, encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to learning and providing opportunities for students to pursue independent study and research with individual faculty mentors.

For more information, contact Smith at (254) 710-3744 or Hibbs at (254) 710-7689.

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