University Park, IL,
16:09 PM

Governors State University receives $2M gift to launch Crawford Honors College

Historic move recognizes alumnus

Portrait photo of a smiling man in a suit and tie

(University Park, Ill.) —A newly established college at Governors State University (GovState) is now known as the Dr. Curtis J. and Mrs. Gina Crawford Honors College (CHC), named for GovState’s distinguished alumnus Dr. Curtis J. Crawford. The CHC holds the distinction as the most rigorous program for honors students among Illinois’ public universities. Additionally, it is the first named college at GovState, which makes the University the second Illinois public university to have a named honors college.

Also significant, the historic pledge of $2 million is the university’s largest ever and creates an opportunity for its most robust fundraising campaign.

Leaders say the establishment of the CHC is perfectly timed as GovState celebrates 55 years of providing exceptional education in 2024.

“The naming of Crawford Honors College is further evidence to prospective students and educators across the state and nation that GovState is a first-choice institution of higher education,” said Board Chair Angela Sebastian (’96). “And, as a fellow graduate, I see CHC as a testament to the impact of a Governors State University degree.’’

In June 2023, Sebastian led the GovState Board to elevate the Honors Program to a college. The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the new status in September.

The Crawford Honors College establishes a 3.65 GPA for standard admission. Students with a 3.8 GPA and higher qualify for the Crawford Honors Leadership Scholars initiative. Both groups qualify for scholarships.

The former Honors Program launched in 2000 and was designed to provide high-impact, challenging, and experiential learning opportunities–both in and out of the classroom to foster leadership skills and personal development. Today the program boasts more than 150 graduates.

Dr. David Rhea is Interim Dean of the Crawford Honors College and is the 2024 Chair of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Assessment and Evaluation Committee. He said studying in other countries, as well as presenting at conferences, allows the students to see the world and helps develop them as leaders and professionals.

At a recent meeting with university faculty and staff, President Cheryl Green said she could see the transformative power of the Honors Program early in her tenure, which began in 2020. Now, after evaluation and research of other programs, Green said she is thrilled for current and prospective Crawford Honors College students.

“We are grateful to our distinguished alum, Dr. Curtis J. Crawford for demonstrating excellence and exceptional achievements in his personal career with their example, our brightest students will take flight and soar to higher heights of academic achievement — right here at GovState,” said Dr. Green.

Provost Beverly Schneller agrees. “We are passionate about academic excellence, faculty professional development, student success and higher education to transform the next generation of learners and leaders.”

The pledge, $500,000 of which has already been funded, kicks off a 15-month fundraising campaign to raise $1 million match. The gift also requires other university initiatives, including adding dorm space exclusively for Honors students.

A Lockport native, Crawford earned both a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a bachelor’s degree in business and bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1974 and 1972, respectively. An executive leadership consultant and author, Dr. Crawford is a longstanding supporter of Governors State and in 1996, earned an honorary doctorate.

The Crawfords said they are proud of CHC’s highly selective, rigorous program, which will admit competitive students who demonstrate a passion for personal leadership.

“CHC is committed to helping students secure amazing opportunities, including access to accomplished professors, inspiring classmates, a stimulating learning environment, and highly respected degree from Governors State University,’’ said Dr. Crawford.