National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2010).

ISSN 1559-0151 Copyright © 2010 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


As the terrible news came across our screens on April 16, 2007, honors administrators across the country thought with sympathy and horror of Charles (Jack) Dudley and his students in the Virginia Tech University Honors Program. Eventually we learned that our worries were sadly justified and that three of Jack’s honors students had been killed, one had been wounded, and all had been traumatized. Our thoughts and messages flowed toward Jack on that day and the days following as we all felt sorrow for him and his students and at the same time felt the terrifying possibility that we might find ourselves in a similar position some day.

Since that terrible day, major traumas have, alas, occurred on other campuses, but most of us have only had to imagine how we would react and how we might help our students. At the same time, honors teachers and administrators try every day to find ways to help troubled students in different kinds of crises both large and small. The troubles typically do not attract national attention and may not seem dire to anyone other than the honors students suffering them, but the troubles are nonetheless urgent to the students, who often bring their problems—or, worse, do not bring them—to the honors staff, faculty, directors, deans, and advisors who might be able to help.