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man pointing at Marilyn Davies College of Business


Mari L. Nicholson-Preuss

As the founding director of the University Honors Program, I consider it a privilege to work with some of University of Houston-Downtown’s best students. The Honors Program launched in August 2014 with a small cohort of about twenty freshmen and a single Honors section of UHD 1304. Currently, there are one hundred-thirty students spread out over four cohorts and more than twenty Honors sections offered each year.  I take great pride in the amazing multidisciplinary community that Honors has evolved into over the last six years. There’s a unique energy created by bringing together students from different majors with a wide range of talents, interests, and abilities.

I am often asked "What makes Honors special?" The answer is quite simple—its students. Honors students not only possess academic talent, but they are also creative thinkers with an exceptional curiosity for the world around them. They thrive in academic settings that delve deeper into the content and challenge preexisting ideas. In a nutshell, Honors students do not merely "think outside the box", they take the box apart, transform it into something new, turn it into a metaphor or debate whether or not the box exists. 

I always look forward to the start of the fall semester and meeting the new group of students who over the next four years will contribute to the shape and character of the Honors Program. Our students do more than complete a degree, they spend their undergraduate education developing a broad repertoire of academic, service, and leadership experiences. Honors students are future shapers and challenge takers and it is my honor to help them define and reach their goals. 

Honors Program at the renaissance festival 


The University Honors Program provides a dynamic environment wherein highly motivated students can grow as scholars, leaders, innovators, and citizens. Excellence is celebrated and horizons are broadened both inside and outside of the classroom.  Admission to the University of Houston-Downtown Honors Program is competitive. Successful applicants not only demonstrate a high level of academic achievement and potential, but also provide evidence of their commitment to community service and participation in meaningful extracurricular activities. Honors complements the curriculum of the degree programs and promotes academic excellence by connecting exceptional students with multiple high impact practices.

University Honors Program Learning Outcomes 

Honors students will… 

  1. Communicate effectively in written, spoken and visual modes for a variety of purposes, with different audiences in various contexts, using appropriate formats and technologies. 

  2. Analyze, critically interpret, and evaluate primary and secondary works within their interdisciplinary, cultural or historical context. 

  3. Locate, extract, and evaluate research on a specific topic within one's discipline to develop and support an original thesis. 

  4. Evaluate an issue of global significance from diverse cultural, political, economic, scientific, or technological perspectives. 

  5. Identify and explain the relationship between local and global conditions, practices, and contexts. 


Ignasio Hernandez

Ignasio Hernandez (B.S. Mathematics, 2019) is the creative talent responsible for many of the photos used on the University Honors Program website.   

“I grew up on the Northside of Houston where I was exposed to photography/videography at Davis High School, and this skill has now stuck with me for over 7 years! With my time at UHD, this talent was put to good use as I was able to take photos for various occasions such as travelling for conferences, fundraisers, commercial shoots, and I was able to take photos for my peers along the way as well. In 2019 graduated with my B.S. in Mathematics and now teach Algebra to ninth graders at East End High School. My photography has moved to a side business at this point, but I will always cherish the time I was able to take photos in my academic career. I invite anyone interested in checking out more of my work to visit my website at" 



The success of the University Honors Program results from the support of an exceptional group of dedicated faculty who serve on the Honors Council, teach Honors sections, sponsor special projects, and help mentor students. Faculty interested in working with Honors students or developing Honors sections are encouraged to reach out to the director of the Honors Program for more information.

Last updated 3/31/2021 11:31 AM