Last week I attended a very special event at the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University — the 2018 Pillar Awards. I was eager to congratulate the presenter — outgoing Honors Dean, Jerry Herron (who was now listed as Founding Dean) — and to meet his successor, Dean John Corvino. The Pillar Awards was created “to celebrate the four pillars of Honors and recognize the distinguished contributions of four exemplary individuals.” https://events.wayne.edu/2018/06/19/honors-college-pillar-awards-76864/
While the Honors College will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, it also includes graduates of the experimental Monteith College, that started in 1959 and was discontinued in 1978. As a Monteith graduate, I was delighted to meet other alums at the campus event, as well as some instructors from my era. Retired Professor Paule Verdet was seated at my table and enjoyed recalling being one of the original instructors hired to create the curriculum of the new Monteith.
I had worked on a special project with Dean Herron a few years ago that involved creating an online platform to showcase student projects — and I enjoyed seeing how Honors in its own way created the same hyper-creative environment for talented students from across the country that I found in Monteith.
This year’s Pillar honorees included four WSU graduates, including two from Monteth: Sheila Cockrel was the winner of the Service Award and a Monteith alumna; and Hon. Sharon Finch, winner of the Career Award was the other Monteith graduate. Cockrel is a former Detroit councilwoman while Finch is a retired judge – both remain active in the community. David E. Smith was the winner of the Community Award, and James Linwood Smith was named posthumously as the winner of the Research award.
There were also recent Honors graduates at the event, who were inspired by the Pillar Awards honorees. As the Detroit area continues to reinvent itself, it is exciting to see this new generation helping to ensure a bright future.
For more information: https://honors.wayne.edu/experience