We, the members of the Honors Residential College, seek to be formed as whole persons by our Baylor education. To this end, we commit ourselves to being a community of faith seeking understanding. As a community, we devote ourselves to sharing life together, making "every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Romans 14:19). As a community of faith, we devote ourselves to the love of God and of neighbor (Matthew 22:38-39), renewing our minds and training our affections through daily prayer and shared acts of service. As a community of faith seeking understanding we devote ourselves to the pursuit of wisdom (Proverbs 3:13-18), seeking a unified understanding of all that we learn so that we may use our gifts for the benefit of all.
The HRC coat of arms follows traditional heraldric principles and makes use of traditional heraldric colors. As a whole, the shield represents Faith, and the individual symbols, functioning together, invoke John 14:6: "Jesus told his disciples, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" Our motto, Fides quaerens intellectum ('Faith seeking understanding'), was one of the favorite sayings of St. Anselm of Canterbury, and it reminds us that all quest for the truth is predicated on Faith.
The radiant sun in the upper section represents the light, shining down upon the open book, which signifies the Honors College student's quest for truth ("veritas") through learning. The colors of the book--red and white--point to the Theological Virtue of caritas, or "Charity," which HRC members seek to exemplify at Baylor and within the community at large. The upturned chevron reminds us, ultimately, that all learning must be directed toward the Good, and that, as human beings, our ultimate end is, as Thomas Aquinas puts it, "the vision of God in His Essence."
Colors in the shield bear important messages, also. In keeping with traditional heraldric code, silver (Argent) signifies the peace and sincerity to which our community aspires. Gold (Or) is the color of generosity and elevation of the mind, to which all Honors College students aspire. And, the blue (Azure) signifies the ideals of truth and loyalty, upon which the meaningful and life-long friendships formed in the HRC are founded.
In September 2006, a student committee, including residents from each of the four Honors College programs, began outlining a philosophy for the HRC coat of arms.
The members of the design committee, now Baylor alumni, were: Bobby Basaldu, Will Brian, Sarah Gillespie, Julie Hamilton, Amy Issa, Gideon Jeffrey, Grace McCullough, Joy McCullough, Brock Scheller, and Taylor Tomasini.
An initial sketch of the design concept was created with input from the committee by Brock Scheller, and the final artistic rendering was painted by Gideon Jeffrey.
Residential colleges began at Oxford and Cambridge in Britain and eventually made their way to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. The primary idea behind the residential college is to provide an integrated and holistic education by combining the classroom experience with the residential experience.
The purpose of education has traditionally been to provide space for students to explore the meaning of life and why life is worth living. In recent years, there has been a slow movement away from this as education's primary purpose and it has shifted to preparing students for the skills and qualities needed for various careers. A residential college seeks to integrate a student's educational experience, by giving them the opportunity and space to continue to explore life's questions and to make sense of how their world fits together. Students are given the freedom to explore a broad array of different ideas and topics and are taught how to do this in a meaningful and constructive way. Through this, students will come to understand the process of their own learning and will develop an innate desire to learn.
Another advantage of a residential college is that they promote the informal interaction between students and faculty. A student's ability and success at learning depends in part upon their relationship with their professor. By bringing the classroom and faculty into the residence hall, a residential college creates an environment that is more conducive for these interactions to take place, thereby enhancing the overall learning experience.
A vital component of any residential college is the community life. A residential college by nature provides a more intimate, inclusive environment as well as a tight-knit community for students. It is a place where everyone belongs and each is known by name. A residential college also provides social stability for its members by providing a consistent rhythm of life. Community events happen on a regular pattern including daily, weekly, monthly, annually, as well as the spontaneous gatherings. These events provide the regular space and opportunity for regular meaningful interactions to take place. By participating in these community events, members are invited to be a part of the immediate community as well as the greater community. By participating, current students will be participating in the same traditions that members before them participated in as well.