Welcome from the Interim Dean

Image of Interim Dean Timothy Steigenga

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, Florida’s top-rated public honors college. As one of the faculty members who helped to found this college, I am thrilled to celebrate our twentieth anniversary this year. We have dedicated twenty years to impacting lives here on the John D. MacArthur campus in Jupiter, and we are just getting started!

The Wilkes Honors College (WHC) recently received the highest rating in a comprehensive review of fifty public honors colleges conducted by Inside Honors . We achieved this rating by combining academic excellence with unparalleled opportunity and access for our students.

  • Excellence: The Wilkes Honors College sets the standard for excellence in Honors education. Our college has its own dedicated honors faculty and interdisciplinary curriculum and keeps a 15 to 1 (or lower) student to faculty ratio, with all students completing an honors thesis under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. The college provides the intimacy of small class sizes and close mentorship from professors, with all the additional benefits of being part of the vibrant Florida Atlantic University community. Thirty National Merit Finalists have attended the WHC since 2000, and approximately seventy percent of our graduates go on to top graduate and professional (especially medicine and law) programs, including those at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Harvard, UCLA, Yale, and FAU. Other graduates take great jobs in research, teaching, non-profits, government, and business. We provide excellent students with the tools to become tomorrow’s leaders. I encourage you to visit our alumni profiles page to learn about the achievements of some of our former students.

  • Access: At a time when the costs of a college education are rising at unprecedented rates, the Wilkes Honors College maintains an affordable in-state tuition. Most WHC students receive a merit-based scholarship, and many receive need-based aid. Endowment earnings totaling $1.3 million annually are distributed as scholarships to our students. During Flagler Scholars Day, top students compete for one of five Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarships worth $72,000 over four years. Approximately twenty-five percent of our students are the first in their family’s history to attend college, and twenty-five percent are from underrepresented groups. Forty-seven percent of applicants’ families who completed a FAFSA in 2018 are Pell-eligible. The majority of WHC students graduate with no debt, and the average debt among the rest is typically $10,000 less than the national average for public universities. We provide an affordable pathway to the American Dream for bright, curious, and diverse students who might otherwise be unable to afford it.

  • Opportunity: The Wilkes Honors College provides transformational opportunities. On the John D. MacArthur campus in Jupiter, our students work alongside the world’s top-ranked, stand-alone scientific institutions for biomedical research—Max Planck and Scripps Research—and have access to FAU’s world-renowned scientists and labs, including at FAU’s Brain Institute. The future of brain science starts right here in Jupiter’s own research triangle. Our students also have access to cutting-edge research and field work through Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and pathway programs to many FAU graduate, medical, and nursing programs. Our students have their pick of stellar WHC arts, humanities, social science, and natural science faculty mentors to guide them on their intellectual journey. As a result, our undergraduates have published or co-published more than eighty peer-reviewed publications with their faculty mentors, including essays, poetry, and science articles.

At the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, we are educating tomorrow’s change-makers and working with them to tackle real world problems using interdisciplinary knowledge and teamwork. From social entrepreneurship, internships, and study abroad, to applied research and a living/learning community, our students are directly engaged in the South Florida community and beyond. Our students live on campus during their first two years, which lets them build strong social bonds and focus on their academic progress as they transition to college life. This year, we are welcoming our largest ever incoming class (of 200 students) and we plan to grow to 800 students by 2025. I encourage you to visit our campus to learn more about what makes the WHC such a special place.

Sincerely,

Timothy Steigenga, PhD

Interim Dean of the Wilkes Honors College
Florida Atlantic University
5353 Parkside Drive, HC 134
Jupiter, FL 33458
561.799.8579