This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Keene State College Morris-August Honors Program. In 2013, the honors program was renamed in recognition of significant support from the William T. Morris Foundation and its President, Bruce August P’13. 

The primary focus of the Morris- August Honors Program is to promote a broader understanding of the world beyond the United States and to help students see their home and themselves in more global terms. The program’s Global Engagement course is a cornerstone of honors students’ learning experience. These types of high-impact learning experiences are a key focus of The Campaign for Keene: Opportunity Starts Here. Students spend a semester studying an aspect of a particular country and then visit that country as a class. Over the past decade, the foundation has granted more than $2 million to provide students with scholarship assistance, resources for travel, and high impact learning practices conducted through the program. 

In May 2023, students traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland with Dr. Niall Moran, the culminating experience of a fall seminar for honors global engagement students and sociology students investigating cultural tourism. Kaylea Platt ’24 reflected on the experience: 

“I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the Morris-August Honors Program. The global engagement portion of the honors program gets you out there to experience once in a lifetime things. I learned so much on the trip. It was rewarding to learn about Ireland’s culture and history in the classroom and then get to go to Ireland, and experience and see first-hand what we were taught and had discussed.” 

A second group of honors students studied sustainable wildlife management with Keene State lecturers Scott Semmens and Charles Kerwin, which concluded in travel to Nepal to experience that country’s approach to sustaining functional ecosystems through biodiversity with supportive human communities—specifically, tiger management. As Scott explained, “Nepal stands proudly as the first country to nearly triple its tiger population in a mere 12 years. In the company of these magnificent big cats, we discovered the secrets behind this incredible feat. Our immersion within the local community allowed us to stay with welcoming families who opened their hearts, sharing their rich culture and cherished traditions with us.” 

For ten years, the Morris-August Honors Program has prepared hundreds of Keene State students to be future global leaders by providing them the opportunity to learn about new perspectives and diverse cultures in the classroom and then immerse themselves in an international experience. 

In addition to Ireland and Nepal, students have studied and traveled to Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cuba, Ecuador, Greece, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.