Honors College

Behind the Doors of Hillcrest House

Hillcrest is more than a solitary house on a hill. It's a space where ideas grow and leadership is nurtured.


Tucked away in the house on the hill overlooking Carrier Library, lies the JMU Honors College. This is the place where students study, collaborate, and develop their plans.

Honors students don’t hide here. Instead, this is home base for their participation all over campus. These students are resident advisors, ROTC affiliates, First yeaR Orientation Guides (FROGs), Marching Royal Dukes, among many other student leadership activities.  

“The Honors College is viewed on campus as an isolated entity – we want to break that stereotype,” said Dr. Newcomer, Dean of the Honors College.

In recent years, the college has reached a peak level of campus involvement and embarked on service-oriented and leadership initiatives which seek to incorporate the entire JMU community. These initiatives have been student-led, largely through the Madison Honors Leadership Council (MHLC).

Matthew Reed is President of MHLC. The Honors College Service Committee, for which Matt provides leadership and guidance, develops service opportunities for both the college and the entire community. 

A few of these events include SPCA Thursdays, participating in The Reading Road Show (also known as the “Gus Bus”), participating in JMU’s Big Event, and MadTalks (the Honors College lecture series).  

“We focus on service opportunities aimed at how we can help the entire community,” Matt said. “What we do makes a real change and helps other people.”

Another outstanding example of campus outreach comes from Honors junior Magi Linscott, VP of MHLC. She has been working actively with the Student Government Association to bring free feminine hygiene products to JMU campus bathrooms. 

“I noticed the accessibility of products was not where it could be, especially at a school that is notably majority female,” Magi said.

According to Magi, many universities, including Brown University, provide free hygiene products in their college restrooms. Recognizing an unfulfilled need among her female peers, Magi proposed the initiative to her Honors advisor who then encouraged her to make the project into an Honors Capstone Project.

“The Honors College teaches students to learn as much as they can and then use that learning to make the world better, and to stand up to indifference,” she notes. “This is an issue not a lot of people think about, and hopefully gives me an opportunity to impact JMU in a meaningful way.”

After completing a Bill of Opinion and receiving positive student reactions to her project, Magi has collected signatures through a petition to advance her goal. 

Many students like Magi have utilized their education through the Honors College to initiate change in the JMU community and beyond – it all starts with the development behind the doors of the House on the Hill overlooking Carrier.

Published: Monday, March 5, 2018

Last Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018

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