Honors College opens doors to renovated space in Shocker Hall


Daniel Caudill

The Bill and Dorothy Cohen Honors College opened doors to its renovated space Friday at an open house. Students say it gives them a special place to hang out and study.

The Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College held an open house Friday afternoon to show off the college’s expanded space in Shocker Hall to students, staff, and community members.

The new space includes dedicated study areas, a seminar room — and a microwave.

“If you ask a student what a new, expanded space in Shocker Hall means to them, … at least one of them will say, ‘The microwave is one of the most essential things to life. I need ramen,’” Honors Dean Kimberly Engber said earlier this month at a weekly Wichita State news briefing.

“Maybe ramen is not the first thing that you think about when you think about an Honors College on campus, but this really speaks to the goal of the university to be student-centered and to create as many spaces on campus where students can be students.”

Places create communities, Engber said.

“It gives them a space where they can just hang out. It gives them a space where they can work on complex math problems on whiteboards — we have a whole wall of whiteboards for them,” Engber said.

This semester, the college instituted a flat $50 fee for honors students to fund the renovations. The Honors College Student Council voted to establish the fee last November.

Engber told The Sunflower in April that the college will submit a report in five years that shows how fees have been used and consults the council on whether or not the fee should be continued.

Cameron Holston, a freshman on the First Year Honors Advisory Board, said he never got the chance to see the old Honors College space. But he said he’s happy to see the college receive a new home.

“I’ve probably come here with friends five times this week just to hang out,” Holston said of the new space in Shocker Hall.

During the remodel, the Honors College found a temporary home in Hubbard Hall.

Hanna Rahman, a student assistant for the Honors College, said the new space shines compared to the Hubbard basement.

“It’s so much nicer, and there’s so much more light,” Rahman said.

Engber said the college is opening its doors — literally and metaphorically.

“In 2017, it was actually students who said, ‘We need a front door to the Honors College,’” she said. “And what they meant was, we need all students and faculty to realize that we are present on this campus and that we are here as a resource.

“All students can come to the Honors College for resources that can support them in undergraduate research and creative activities.”

Created in 2013, the Honors College was named after benefactors Dorothy and Bill Cohen in 2015.