Laut Honors Program

All students who attend Wheeling Jesuit University are invited to think - about themselves, about their responsibilities to others and to our world, about ultimate concerns regarding the life of the mind and of the spirit. What distinguishes the WJU Honors Program is how it rewards WJU's students with a record of exceptional academic achievement and an appetite for intellectual experience who want even more than their major and the liberal-arts core curriculum already offers them.

All our Honors Program seminars are for credit, but ungraded. Unlike other courses, the honors seminars are not taught from a single academic perspective but from perspectives across the academic spectrum. The reward, quite literally, is the experience itself: an expanded and enriched intellectual engagement with one another and the world. In defiance of our increasingly grade-conscious culture, we offer students an oasis to take chances: to form questions and seek answers.

I invite you to read more about our History and Design and the various components of the Honors Program elsewhere on this website. In the briefest, practical terms, the Wheeling Jesuit University Honors Program has three functions:

  1. The Honors Program annually offers two four-year, full-tuition Honors Scholarships via a multi-stage competition.
  2. The Honors Program invites qualified first- and second-year WJU students to participate in the Laut Honors College, a multi-disciplinary adventure in ideas.
  3. Qualified sophomores may apply for admission into the Ignatian Honors Seminar for Juniors and Seniors, in which both opportunities for and responsibilities of honors students greatly intensify.

I know from my own teaching experience and from talking with my faculty colleagues that there is no greater reward in our profession than witnessing students' moments of insight. This is when we know our students to be most intellectually engaged in the genuine living of their own lives. This is what we have designed the honors program to encourage and foster in our students. 

John W. Whitehead
Director of the Wheeling Jesuit University Honors Program
Associate Professor of Fine Arts

Image of Laut Honors student and mentorProf. Whitehead poses with the seniors in the Ignatian Honors Seminar at a February 2016 Honors Program event. (He is the tall one.) The seniors, left to right, are Melinda (MeMe) Earnest, Athletic Training; Mary Meiman, Communications; Elizabeth (Libby) Sacco, Psychology; Amy Schattel, Biology; and Anh-Dao (Anha) Le, Biology. Another member of the senior class, Do-Heum Choi, graduated early; he went on to dental school.





  • While the Honors Program is demanding, it is ungraded: be engaged in our program because it's interesting, not because it will hurt your GPA if you're not engaged.
  • Recent topics have included Intuition, Barbarism, Rhetorics of the Body, Utopia/Dystopia, Ideas and Inventions, Family, Beauty, Weird America, Lies and Truth-Telling, and Identity.
  • At Commencement, Honors students are singled out for distinctive recognition.
  • Any resume is more distinguished with a Laut Honors College or Ignatian Honors Seminar listing - and with an Honors Professor's reference!