TU announces new Honors College, inaugural dean - The University of Tulsa

TU announces new Honors College, inaugural dean

headshot photo of dr. frey standing in front of a library bookcaseThe University of Tulsa announced Jennifer Frey, Ph.D., as the inaugural dean of the Honors College, effective July 1, 2023. Frey will build upon the existing TU Honors Program to create the Honors College, which will enroll its first students for the fall 2024.

“A national leader in liberal arts education, Jennifer is deeply committed to philosophy, literature, history, art, and religion and will continue our renaissance to achieve the type of education that is essential to human flourishing,” said TU President Brad R. Carson.

Currently an associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Frey previously was a collegiate assistant professor in the humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was also a fellow in the Society for the Liberal Arts. She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and medieval studies from Indiana University-Bloomington and her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. Her academic research is primarily on virtue and happiness, and she often lectures and writes about the nature and value of a liberal arts education. In 2015, she was awarded a multimillion-dollar grant from the John Templeton Foundation titled “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.” Frey’s nonacademic writing has appeared in venues such as First Things, The Hedgehog Review, Image, The Point, and The Wall Street Journal. She also hosts a popular philosophy and literature podcast, Sacred and Profane Love.

“By studying classical texts of the liberal arts tradition within a community of learners who seek truth as a common end, TU Honors College students will confront the most profound and enduring questions of human existence, as explored by some of the most influential thinkers in our inherited intellectual tradition,” Frey said. “These students will search for wisdom and an authentic sense of meaning and purpose through the study of core texts, and they will seek to grow in moral character through their service to the community at large.”

TU began its outstanding Honors Program in the 1980s thanks in large part to the dedication of Professor of Philosophy Paul Brown. The program began in the university’s Kendall College of Arts & Sciences before expanding to include students from all undergraduate colleges. The Honors Program – and soon the Honors College – is a hallmark of a distinguished University of Tulsa education and complements the popular Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge. Like Honors, TURC is a long-standing TU program that empowers students to think beyond themselves, explore big ideas and seek understanding in a collaborative environment.

“The Honors College at TU will offer our most intellectually serious students a home for academic work and for the late-night philosophical conversations that characterize the best of an academic-residential experience for undergraduates,” Provost George Justice said. “The new TU Honors College is a critical element of our academic strategy, will provide a focused set of experiences – in and out of the classroom – and will serve as a magnet to increasingly draw the world’s most talented and motivated students to Tulsa.”