Central State University Honors College sets up students for success  

Asia Kimpson

The Central State University Honors College provides students with the support to grow academically, professionally, and personally.

Honors College and International Affairs Executive Director Paul Schlag, Ph.D., said the college “is an interdisciplinary home for highly motivated and high-achieving students. Students’ commitment to excellence, leadership in community service, and impressive academic records qualify them to join the honors community — a select group of highly motivated, energetic, imaginative, and dedicated student leaders and scholars.”

Through the Honors College, students can graduate with general honors, honors in the major, University honors, and international honors. Additionally, Honors students have access to numerous scholarships and Honors housing, allowing them to live with peers with a similar commitment to academic excellence.

To be eligible to join the Honors College, students must have at least a 3.5 grade point average and evidence of extracurricular, leadership, or service activities. The application is open to first-year, transfer, and current students who meet the eligibility requirements.

Since its inception in 2021, 72 students have graduated with honors. As of June 2023, there were 350 Honors students and another 149 admitted first-year students and six transfer students.

The Honors College staff works closely with the administration and other institutions to provide as many opportunities as possible.

This year, Central State has deepened its relationship with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). Shlag serves as Central State’s TMCF representative, which creates further funding and professional development
opportunities for Honors students.

In addition to formal partnerships, the Honors College facilitates educational and professional excursions. During the 2022-23 academic year, Honors students had opportunities to visit the FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, and tour the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

A hallmark of the Honors College, the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team, advanced to the Sweet 16 at the 2023 National Championship — an academic trivia competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities with 128 teams.

“The Honors College means opportunities for excellence. Every student can find the path of excellence for themselves, and we know that the Honors College is there to support and encourage us,” said Jeremy Jackson, Presidential Scholar and Student Honors Association President.

Honors College students have been nationally recognized with high-profile scholarships. Kayla Smith, the 2023 Outstanding Senior for the John W. Garland College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture, was a
2022 Barry Goldwater Scholar — a prestigious science award for college sophomores and juniors. Danielle Darkenwald, a rising senior, was a Boren Scholar, which enabled her to participate in an intensive Swahili language
program and study abroad in Tanzania for a semester.

“The benefits of the membership in the Honors College are multitudinous,” Schlag said.

The Honors College continues to grow with new residential and administrative buildings and more on and off-campus opportunities.

Central State University is a public HBCU and 1890 Land-Grant Institution with a 135-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. Central State ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges in five categories, including Best Undergraduate Engineering Program and Top Public Schools.