The Rio Grande Honors Program, Simple Brilliance, engages gifted students through a specialized curriculum, Honors seminars, and a capstone project that challenges all perceptions to achieve maximum potential. The academic excellence embodied by the Rio Grande faculty combined with the core value system of the surrounding Appalachian culture fosters socially responsible, culturally diverse leaders dedicated to confronting global change.

The Honors Program is not a degree-granting program. It is, however, an academic program that can be taken in conjunction with a student’s major curriculum. Students who successfully complete the Honors curriculum in addition to their program curriculum will graduate with the Honors designation on their transcript. The complete Honors Program is a baccalaureate program, but eligible associate degree students are welcome to participate in the seminars and take the Honors general education curriculum as their academic program allows.

Honors students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 at all times. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.25 are automatically placed on probation but have until the following semester, not including Summer term, to raise their GPA to at least a 3.25.

Honors students can apply up to two non-Honors classes – no more than four credits per class – to their Honors general education curriculum. These courses can be from Rio Grande or transferred in from a different institution. (Transfer credits must be approved by Rio Grande’s Records Office before they can be applied to a student’s curriculum.)

Upon completion of the Rio Grande Honors Program, students will:

• Demonstrate a strong knowledge of written communication skills.
• Develop effective and persuasive oral communication skills.
• Analyze and synthesize information from a diverse range of sources.
• Solve problems through the scientific method using proper research skills.
• Creatively express themselves through original work.
• Think critically and approach issues through a logical manner.

Honors Program Acceptance Requirements

First-semester Rio students seeking admission into the Honors Program must meet two of the following criteria:

• Upper 10 percent of high school graduating class,
• 3.5 high school GPA, and
• ACT composite score of 25.

Currently enrolled Rio students seeking admission must meet the following criteria:

• 3.25 minimum GPA after completing at least 8 credit hours and
• a letter of recommendation by a Rio Grande faculty member.

National Collegiate Honors Council

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is the professional association of undergraduate Honors programs and colleges; Honors directors and deans; and Honors faculty, staff, and students. NCHC provides support for institutions and individuals developing, implementing, and expanding Honors education through curriculum development, program assessment, teaching innovation, national and international study opportunities, internships, service and leadership development, and mentored research.


Mid-East Honors Association

The Mid-East Honors Association is comprised of honors colleges and programs from Eastern Illinois, Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Southern Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Institutions that are close to these states (in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania)while not strictly within our borders, are welcome to join MEHA and attend the annual conference.