Created in honor of Sen. Claiborne deBorda Pell, the Pell Honors Program aims to realize his vision of a liberal arts education as the route to informed citizenship. During his 36-year career representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate, Pell made historic contributions in international relations, higher education, environmental protection and global resource preservation, and government support of the arts, humanities, libraries and museums.
The Pell Honors Program incorporates the University's mission by preparing students to serve the community, seek peace and justice in the world and be responsible citizens at the local, national and international levels. The program embodies Pell's conviction that one of the best ways to understand the meaning of liberty and exercise conscientious freedom is through a serious study of the essential texts that inspired our nation's founding principles, along with those of other cultures that do not necessarily share our own views.
Students in the Pell Honors Program join a lively community of highly motivated peers and faculty mentors drawn from many departments and disciplines, united by a passion for, and dedication to, academic excellence, artistic creativity and intellectual curiosity.
Through the Pell Honors Program, students enter into respectful but critical debates about God, politics, human nature and ethics, and examine the conflicting conceptions of "the good life" that have unfolded over centuries and shaped human history. Course texts connect students with the roots of modernity and contemporary, post-modern thought as well as their ancient and medieval counterparts. Students read challenging authors with critical discernment and learn to purposefully argue and justify their own positions cogently and with a sense of style.