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OU Honors College Celebrates 50 Years

President Boren will lead a panel discussion in celebration of the Honors College 50th anniversary on March 4.

University of Oklahoma President and Rhodes Scholar David L. Boren will lead a panel discussion, “Education for the 21st Century,” featuring three of OU’s Rhodes Scholars, Jason Sanders, M.D., 2000; Andrea DenHoed, 2008; and Mubeen Shakir, 2013; on Tuesday, March 4. The event is in celebration of the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College 50th anniversary. 

“The university is extremely proud of the high standards set by the Honors College and its students, faculty and staff,” Boren said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to celebrate its 50th anniversary.”

Sanders, who was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2000, is vice provost for planning and administrative affairs at the OU Health Sciences Center. An internal medicine specialist, he established his medical practice with OU Physicians, where he provides primary care services for adults. Sanders completed a residency at the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, and he also earned degrees at Harvard Business School, Oxford University and OU. 

DenHoed graduated summa cum laude from OU in May 2008 with an honors degree in letters and international and area studies. She was OU’s 27th Rhodes Scholar, graduating from Oxford University with a B.A. in English language and literature. She then earned an M.A. in journalism from New York University’s Cultural Reporting and Criticism Program. She works as a Web producer and writer for The New Yorker magazine. 

Shakir, OU’s 29th Rhodes Scholar, attends Oxford University, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in medical anthropology with plans to study for a master’s in public policy next year. Shakir graduated summa cum laude in May 2013 with a B.S. in biochemistry. During his time at OU, he took part in the President’s Research Mentorship Program that paired him with Pulitzer Prize-winning Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee of Columbia University Medical Center, as well as researching at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the Department of Pediatrics at the OU Health Sciences Center. Upon returning to the United States, Shakir will attend Harvard Medical School.

The Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College provides a supportive and challenging academic program for more than 3,000 intellectually motivated undergraduate students. Offering an enriching interdisciplinary curriculum through its diverse programs, the college supports students in a full range of academic pursuits. Carefully designed small classes usually of 19 students or less, a collegial environment and close advising prepare students for advanced study leading to the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or any other bachelor’s degrees offered at OU. The Honors College seeks to inspire students to a lifetime of broad intellectual curiosity and continuing self-sustained inquiry and personal growth.

Each semester, the Honors College sponsors a program of informal reading groups that meet one hour per week to discuss about 50 pages of reading from specific books. The books cover a wide range of topics, and most have been recommended by honors students. To participate, the only commitment is that each student makes a good-faith effort to do the reading and come to the group meeting as often as possible, with the understanding there may be one or two weeks when students need to do other things.

The honors program at OU was launched in the 1963-64 academic year by OU President George Lynn Cross and professor Paul Ruggiers. When Boren became OU president in 1994, one of his goals was to provide intense intellectual challenges that would equal those available at smaller private institutions. Through his leadership, the honors program was elevated to college status. Since Boren became OU president, the university has had four Rhodes Scholars.

For more information about the event, and for accommodations on the basis of disability, please call OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-3784 or email specialevents@ou.edu.