March 2, 2016 Edition

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Williams to launch new honors
program with Coe Scholars

Dora Lwamba, a Williams Baptist College senior from Olive Branch, Miss., does research recently in WBC's Felix Goodson Library. Starting in the fall, Williams students will have a chance to participate in a variety of academic opportunities and challenges through the new Honors Program.

Williams Baptist College will launch its new Honors Program this fall, and it will welcome its first group of participants, known as Coe Honors Scholars. Students selected for the prestigious program will participate in a wide array of academic opportunities and challenges.

The title of Coe Honors Scholar is a tribute to the late Henry E. (Ezra) and Verbeth Coe of Tuckerman, whose recent estate gift endowed scholarships at Williams, as well as benefiting two other educational institutions. Longtime supporters of WBC, the Coes left nearly $1,000,000 from their estate to Williams.

Their nephew, Bill Coe, stated, "I know that Ezra and Verbeth would be humbled and honored that the school would establish a scholarship program in their memory. I know it would make them proud."

"The Coes were a quiet, unassuming couple who made a lasting impact on Williams Baptist College and its students," said Dr. Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement. "It is only fitting that their name be associated with the outstanding students who will take part in this program."

The new Honors Program will be directed by Dr. Kenneth Startup, who says the program is a logical move for WBC, due to what he describes as the college's long-standing, excellent academic culture and decades-long tradition of academic honors activities and organizations.

"Currently, Williams is host to 10 national and international academic honor organizations. Over the past decades, many of Williams' best students have participated in these honor organizations," Startup said. "The new Honors Program is meant to enhance the larger academic culture at Williams by offering gifted, high-achieving students in all disciplines special, select opportunities for intellectual enrichment and recognition."

The Honors Program will be open to students with a proven record of academic achievement. They will participate in special field trips, symposia, lectures and other academic enrichment activities, according to Startup.

On some occasions, the Coe Scholars will also serve as academic ambassadors for the college, helping to recruit high achieving students to attend Williams.

"The launch of the Williams Honors Program is intended to coincide with the college's 75th anniversary," Startup said. "We think it's an ideal occasion to begin this major academic initiative, representing, as it does, the college's profound commitment to academic excellence."

Startup, who will complete his tenure as WBC's academic dean at the conclusion of the spring semester, will not be alone in leading the Honors Program.

"It has been a great privilege for me to work closely with a committee of senior faculty and administrators in developing the program," Startup said. "Fortunately, I will have the Honors Program Council, a group of senior faculty, to help with all of this."

The first Coe Scholars will be named later this spring, and the Williams Honors Program will formally launch in the fall 2016 semester.

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