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Past Annual Conferences



Location: Seattle
Chair: Art Spisak

2016 NCHC Conference Program
Conference Photos



Theme: "Know Yourself"

The theme for the 2016 NCHC Seattle conference is Know Yourself, and the information below is an explication of that concept from three perspectives: 1) at a personal level; 2) in regard to honors education and the NCHC; and 3) in relation to Seattle, the site of the 2016 NCHC conference. (more)


Location: Chicago
Chair: Jerry Herron

2015 NCHC Conference Program
Conference Photos
Portz Scholars
SIRP Papers


Theme: "Make No Little Plans"



Location: Denver
Chair: Barry Falk

2014 NCHC Conference Program
Conference Photos
Portz Scholars
SIRP Papers

Theme: Thrill of the Climb

As we gather in Denver, the Mile High City lying at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains, we are inspired by the challenges we face and the thrill of taking them on.



Location: New Orleans
Chair: Jim Ruebel

2013 NCHC Conference Program
Conference Photos
Portz Scholars
SIRP Papers
Students of the Year

Theme:  Conflict  Transformation Creolization

Since its beginnings as a French colony in 1718, New Orleans has ever been a focal point of social and geopolitical conflicts. Evolving from the intersection of Native Americans, French and Spanish explorers, colonists, nuns and priests, as well as African slaves and free people of color, these confrontations resolved over time into a new synthesis by a process now known as Creolization. The cradle of jazz, Mardi Gras, and savory Cajun cuisine, New Orleans is a paradigm for the creativity that emerges from multicultural interplay. With the resurgence of Spanish language and culture brought by a new wave of immigrants following Hurricane Katrina in 2006, as well as the incursion of new investors in abandoned areas, cultural conflict and development continues to color the city. The resulting confrontations among values, languages, religions and artistic endeavors will continue to transform the city of New Orleans as a rich and unparalleled source of creative cultural synthesis.


2012-nchclogo-200X150Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Chair: Rick Scott

Conference Program
Conference Photos
Portz Scholars
SIRP Papers
Students of the Year

Theme: Challenging Structures

During the American Revolution, Boston’s citizens sought independence from arbitrary authority while preserving interdependence and community. Reflecting similar values, the honors revolution has challenged the structure of undergraduate education. Honors faculty foster independent thought, motivation, and scholarship in students while encouraging collaboration within a community of scholars. As we gather in Boston, we will highlight the scholarship of teaching and learning while reexamining our practices, pedagogy, and communities to extend the challenge of the honors revolution in education.


2011 Student Logo


Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Chair: Greg Lanier
Conference Program
Conference Photos
Theme: Stewards of our Colliding Worlds: Rights, Wrongs and Responsibilities

"NCHC’s 2011 conference in Phoenix will focus on one of the central missions of honors by bringing our passion for education and discovery to a city embroiled in controversy. While many national organizations are refusing to meet in Arizona as a means of protesting the state’s controversial immigration laws, we will travel to Phoenix so we can see for ourselves how a city copes with the challenges of serving multiple populations with conflicting needs. Since Arizona is home to some of our country’s most famous natural wonders, the conference will address the needs of our planet as well. Topics of interest will include not only immigration, but conservation, ecology, and conflict. We will meet to affirm that honors education is about more than mere “book learning”: it also entails stewardship, a combination of responsibility and leadership that meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the needs of the future. Our goal is to strive for a workable balance that cares for all the resources, people and communities whose competing interests make up our colliding worlds."


2010-Student-LogoLocation: Kansas City, Missouri
Chair: Bonnie Irwin
Conference Program
Conference Photos

Theme: Rhythms and Currents

Kansas City, “The Heart of the Midwest,” pulsates with jazz rhythms and the currents of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers that flow through its environs, nourishing the landscape and nurturing its rich ethnic and economic diversity. Like the exquisite fountains that grace Kansas City’s plazas and boulevards, turning water into art, honors programs and colleges channel the currents of higher education, providing access to challenging academic opportunities and enriching life experiences for students and professionals. To sustain these programs, especially in uncertain times, NCHC members work together to improvise variations on the themes of excellence and achievement, creating our own honors jazz.


2009-student-logoLocation: Washington, D.C.
Chair: John Zubizaretta
Conference Program
Conference Photos
Theme: Honors in the Global City

"With its marble monuments--inspiring testaments and promises of our nation's history, ideals and future--Washington, D.C. embraces the diversity of the United States as well as the citizens and cultures of the world. Having grown from a sleepy southern village to a vibrant metropolis, the city integrates American cultural roots and the challenges of a dynamic world. The honors experience, too, synthesizes tradition and innovation as students prepare themselves for the challenges and risks of global citizenship through the power of learning. NCHC can meet in no better place than this international city that showcases American genius, sacrifice, curiosity, and creativity while at the same time offering the honors community an opportunity to reflect on the multicultural significance of our nation's capital."


Location: San Antonio, Texas
Chair: Lydia Lyons
Conference Program
Conference Photos
Theme: Crossing Frontiers

"The barriers to understanding and achievement are many. Honors education addresses these barriers by empowering students to challenge expectations and explore new worlds. A community of pathfinders, honors students and faculty lead us across frontiers in search of knowledge and creative expression. We meet this year in San Antonio, a city where the cultures of the world come together to build new connections on the frontiers of the 21st century."


2007-student-logoLocation: Denver, Colorado
Chair: Hallie Savage
Conference Program
Conference Photos
Theme: Challenging Environments

"Denver and the american West manifest the human ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments.  The majestic peaks, raging waters, and dramatic vistas that surround Denver evoke awe and inspire creativity, attracting people from across the nation and the world.  As diverse cultures converge in this dynamic community, they endeavor to work together to address complex local and global issues.

Striving toward new heights of excellence and exploring new frontiers in higher education, the National Collegiate Honors Council brings together individuals of diverse talents in collaborative environments to inquire, think, and discover.  The creative tensions that spring from these interactions ensure that there will always be new peaks to climb. Guided by individual aspirations and a collaborative spirit, we confidently face both present and future challenges in higher education and the world around us.

Welcome to Denver and ascend to new heights!"


2006-student-logoLocation: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chair: Kate Bruce
Conference Program
Conference Photos
Theme: Liberty: Foundation for Inquiry, Innovation, and Invention

"Liberty resonates through the historic sites and in the vibrant cultures of Philadelphia. Home to such traditional American symbols as the Liberty Bell and the American Flag, and to such forward-looking thinkers and artists as Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fulton, Noam Chomsky, Mary Cassatt, and Marian Anderson, Philadelphia is the birthplace of American democracy and the constitution that governs it. Like the framers of the Constitution, NCHC celebrates a diversity of ideas and a unity of purpose. By fostering inquiry, innovation, and invention, honors education ensures that the spirit of liberty and a love for learning will continue to guide future generations of thinkers, artists, and leaders. We welcome you to share in our Philadelphia story and invent your own adventures in 2006. Let Honors Ring"


2005-student-logoLocation: St. Louis, Missouri
Chair: Jon Schlenker
Conference Program
Theme: Gateway to Exploration and Discovery

"Few locations in the United States embody the theme “Gateway to Exploration and Discovery” as much as St. Louis. Founded in 1764 as a center for the fur trade, St. Louis became the major gateway for explorers and pioneers heading west. Lewis and Clark began their quest from St. Louis in 1804, while the residents of St. Louis funded Charles Lindbergh’s pioneering flight across the Atlantic. Like St. Louis, our ventures in honors education foster a gateway to exploration and discovery—academically, professionally, and personally. We welcome you to share your own honors explorations and discoveries in 2005. Meet us in St. Louis!"




2004-student-logoLocation: New Orleans, Louisiana
Chair: Virginia McCombs
Conference Program
Theme: Bridging Currents and Cultures

"New Orleans is an American city unlike any other. The product of vibrant diverse cultures and the mighty Mississippi River, New Orleans offers visitors and residents alike lagniappe, or “something extra,” when serving up spicy food, music, history, literature, or New Orleans’ signature party, Mardi Gras. As host city for our 2004 conference, New Orleans offers members of NCHC the opportunity to celebrate both the diversity of our students and programs and our common vision of excellence in higher education. We invite you to consider how we bridge our differences and confront the changing currents on our campuses, in academia, and American society.  Just as the Mississippi River is fed by scores of rivers and streams, so also NCHC exists as a product of individual faculty, students, administrators, Honors Programs, and Honors Colleges. We welcome you to join us for our celebration of Honors in one of the most celebrated cities in the world - New Orleans!"


2003-student-logoLocation: Chicago, Illinois

Chair: Norman Weiner
Conference Program
Theme: Finding Common Ground

"NCHC is an organization that reflects the diversity of its membership: from community colleges to graduate institutions, from small schools to large, public and private, urban and rural. Despite our differences, there has always been one question that brings us together. How can we provide the highest-quality undergraduate education for our students? While we may dis-agree on the best answer to this question, we seem to find common ground in the belief that NCHC can help us provide this excellent education. Thus, at the 2003 conference, we encourage discussion of our diversity and our common ground — in our beliefs and values, in our ethnicities, in our choices, in our experiences as citizens of the academic community and of the world, in our educations, and in our professional commitment to honors education and NCHC. We welcome you to join us as we explore and rethink both our diversity and our common ground in Chicago, a city of almost endlessly diverse neighborhoods, art, architecture, food, and music — a city that finds common ground in its civic pride and strong spirit.


2002-student-logoLocation: Salt Lake City, Utah
Chair: Donzell Lee
Conference Program

Theme: Peaks and Valleys in the Honors Experience

"The terrain of Utah’s Wasatch Front, a series of basins and mountain ranges created by plate tectonics, allows a multiplicity of diverse natural habitats—from alpine meadows to salt flats—to exist side by side. Likewise, from the first pioneering efforts to find refuge and establish community in the valleys, the Western frontier has ignited newcomers’ hopes even as it has presented unforeseen challenges. The 2002 conference invites us to consider the diverse range of experiences that make up the topography of Honors, as well as explore the hopes and challenges that come with pioneering and sustaining an Honors Program. We will use not only the new Grand America Hotel and Salt Lake City but also the dramatic landscape of the surrounding environs to enrich our discussions of teaching and learning, communities, texts and contexts.

2001: Chicago, IL - Fields of Imagination
2000: Washington, D.C. - Capital Ideas
1999: Orlando, FL - Worlds of Imagination
1998: Chicago, IL - Honors in the Loop
1997: Atlanta, GA - The Tradition of Honors
1996: San Francisco, CA - Honors on the Edge
1995: Pittsburgh, PA - Honors as Neighborhood
1994: San Antonio, TX - Crossing Borders
1993: St. Louis, MO - Privilege, Responsibility, and Community
1992: Los Angeles, CA - Discovery
1991: Chicago, IL - No Theme - Focus on Honors in Fine Arts/Natural Sciences
1990: Baltimore, MD - Changing the Boundaries: World, Nation, and Community
1989: New Orleans, LA - Lagniappe: The Honors Experience
1988: Las Vegas, NV - Take a Chance
1987: Dallas, TX - No Theme
1986: Miami, FL - Honors Education and Cultural Pluralism
1985: Salt Lake City, UT - Honors at the Frontier: The Honors Challenge
1984: Memphis, TN - Education at the Crossroads: The Honors Challenge
1983: Philadelphia, PA - Honors Education: Preserving Tradition, Fostering Change
1982: Albuquerque, NM - Knowledge, the Disciplines, and Interdisciplinary Study
1981: Omaha, NE - Teaching and Learning: The Uniqueness of Honors
1980: Fort Worth, TX - Expectation of Honors: Values and Standards
1979: Atlanta, GA - In Anticipation of the 80s: Agenda for Action
1978: Kent, OH - Honors as Process: Ends and Means
1977: Washington, D.C. - Doing as Learning: Honors in an Experiential Setting
1976: Fayetteville, AR - The Second Decade: Responsibilities in a Changed Environment
1975: Pullman, WA - The Many Faces of Honors
1974: St. Louis, MO - Liberal Education Today and the Role of Honors
1973: Williamsburg, VA - The Nature of Excellence
1972: San Francisco, CA - Honors: Condition and Directions
1971: Ann Arbor, MI - Honors at Work
1970: Boulder, CO - No Theme
1969: New Orleans, LA - No Theme
1968: Seattle, WA - No Theme
1967: Washington, D.C. - No Theme
1966: Lawrence, KS - No Theme

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National Collegiate Honors Council
1100 Neihardt Residence Center
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
540 North 16th St.
Lincoln, Nebraska

Tel: 402-472-9150
Fax: 402-472-9152


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