Limestone’s Thriving Honors Program Continues To Attract Best, Brightest Students

A year after implementing a fresh approach to its solid foundation, Limestone University’s Honors Program continues to present select undergraduates the opportunity to pursue academic excellence within a community of like-minded learners.

In the spring of 2019, Director Dr. Jonathan Sarnoff and a leadership committee took the reins of The University’s Honors Program that offers talented and motivated students the prospect of reaching greater heights through their experiences at Limestone.​




“I am fortunate to work with a great team of Honors Committee members, administrators, and faculty members to help deliver a great product for our Honors students,” Sarnoff said recently in talking about the Honors Program’s growth. “Dr. Alex Richardson and Dr. Felicia Cavallini are two of those faculty members. We are likely one of the few smaller institutions of higher learning in the country to have two Fulbright Scholars teaching required courses in an Honors Program. Dr. Richardson will be teaching an Honors Literature class and Dr. Cavallini will be teaching our Capstone course.”

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year. Richardson was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2009 and traveled to the Island of Maderia to teach courses on American culture at the University of Maderia. Cavallini earned the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award in 2014 and served at the University of Guelph in Canada as a Visiting Research Chair in the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Department, and her primary focus was on physical activity and exercise.

“What we developed is a seminar style class where students will take more ownership of the material,” Richardson said about his Honors Program course at Limestone. “The students will have the responsibility of doing research and reporting back to their classmates. It will not be just a teacher-student classroom environment. Instead, it will be more of a collective group of scholars coming together to learn.”

Sarnoff noted that Limestone’s Honors Program members enter into a community of students, faculty, and administrators committed to the shared ideals of academic excellence, leadership, intellectual curiosity, and mutual respect. They are able to defend and critique ideas, recognize and demonstrate the value of service-learning, identify complex problems and evaluate solutions, analyze and interpret advanced primary and secondary texts, develop a research design and execute research independently or with faculty, and implement leadership principles in everyday life.

“If we are fostering and nurturing life-long learning, we are wanting the students to affect our community,” Cavallini explained. “We expect them to be the gold standard in the classroom. All of their assignments matter, and their decorum matters also. But then we like to transcend that into the public and the real world. We believe they will tackle projects that will make in impact, whether it be here at Limestone or in and around Gaffney and Cherokee County. It’s important to develop a whole and total self so that they can learn to be the best versions of themselves.” 

Criteria used for selection in Limestone’s Honors Program includes SAT and ACT scores, rank in class, the nature of courses taken in high school, and grade-point average.

“Dr. Richardson and Dr. Cavallini are by no means the only excellent faculty we have teaching in our Honors Program,” Sarnoff noted. “We have Dr. Megan Anderson teaching our Colloquium class, Dr. Randy Nichols teaches our Advance Public Speaking class, and Dr. Jack Knipe leads our Freshman Academic Honors Seminar, so we have what I consider to be some of the best faculty around. To have a vibrant Honors Program on campus, it takes a community. It takes a team. And I really like the team that I work with.”

Academically ambitious students are invited to learn about the Limestone Honors Program, which offers academic rigor beyond the standard college experience. For more information about eligibility and requirements, please take a moment to read the additional elements contained on this webpage.

“Our professors in the Honors Program want us to have our own original thoughts and ideas and discuss them,” said Limestone English major Abagail Boggs. “With my professors, it doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong. It’s more about talking and trying to get ideas out.”

Limestone’s Honors Program was established in the fall of 1983 by former Professor of History Dr. Tom Thomson..

Mission Statement

The mission of the Limestone University Honors Program is to provide academically gifted students on the Day Campus with a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum and an engaging learning community that equips them with the knowledge, creativity, and adaptability to thrive and lead.

Why Join The Honors Program At Limestone?

The skills that we help develop in the Honors Program are skills that employers and graduate schools are looking for. In other words, being in the Honors Program is going to help you tremendously after you graduate from Limestone. As a graduate of our Honors Program will give you a leg up when applying to graduate school or entering the job market.

Limestone’s Honors Program is not necessarily “harder” -- but it is different. For example, in a regular Public Speaking class, you might give four speeches to your fellow students. However, in our advanced Public Speaking class, you might be asked to give a speech in a different forum, perhaps in an online setting, or possibly to a local civic club.

Honors Program Learning Objectives

After graduating from Limestone’s Honors Program, our students will be able to:

  • Defend and critique ideas in both oral and written form; 
  • Recognize and demonstrate the value of service-learning;
  • Identify complex problems and evaluate solutions;
  • Analyze and interpret advanced primary and secondary texts; 
  • Develop a research design and execute research independently or with faculty; 
  • Implement leadership principles in everyday life. 

Honors Program Conditions

After being accepted, retention into the Honors Program is dependent upon maintaining a “B” or higher cumulative grade point average (3.0 to 4.0 scale) in all coursework. Students who successfully complete the program’s requirements will receive special recognition at their graduation ceremony.

To become a graduate of the Honors Program, a student must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours of Honors-designated coursework.

All Honors Program course offerings are identified in Limestone’s Academic Catalog with the letter “H” as a suffix.

History Of The Honors Program

Limestone’s Honors Program was established in the fall of 1983 as a way to create a challenging academic environment for gifted and special ability students on The University’s Day Campus. The inaugural Honors Program included 16 students, and the number of participants has grown steadily over the years.

How To Apply

We are now looking for the creative and bright minds who will take the program to the next level. The Honors Program expects to accept up to 30 new students each academic year.

Honors students are enrolled into our program, but they are not confined to any particular academic major.

Rigorous. Demanding. Rewarding. Limestone’s Honors Program is looking for the next wave of exceptional students who want to make the most of their liberal arts education.

Are you ready for the challenge? If so, we are excited to hear from you! Please complete the application below.

Honors Program Application


If you have any questions, please contact Limestone University Honors Program Director Dr. Jonathan Sarnoff: