National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 23–25


Copyright © 2022 LLeweLLyn Cooper


As part of the National Collegiate Honors Council’s (2022) collection of essays about the value of honors to its graduates (1967–2019), the author reflects on the personal and professional impacts of the honors experience.

T he UAB HP transformed me. It really started with an article—two articles—in a Vibe Magazine I was given by the HP Director. The September 1993 issue included two people— one of whom I did not previously know existed—who would change my paradigm. As a 21-year-old from North Birmingham, I was all about Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, and hard-core hip hop, and that article about the old dude would have to wait. I was given the magazine by two people for two very different reasons: Dail Mullins wanted me to have it because Snoop Dogg was on the cover. Snoop was a rapper and more importantly to me a Crip and one of my heroes for both reasons. Ada Long, the HP director, shared it for the article about Cornel West, who would replace Snoop in my pantheon of people I wanted to be. The gift of that magazine says as much about my experience as an honors student as any other. I entered the UAB Honors Program with the clear focus on changing the world through journalism, and I nearly did it. While in the UABHP, I became the section editor of the university’s award-winning newspaper, the editor of the HP newsletter, and the co-editor of the university’s student magazine. It was not these experiences but the lens that I developed through my HP experience to understand the experiences that make me who I am and will be.