June 23, 2021

The Dr. John Zubizarreta Honors Program to Continue Retiring Director’s Legacy

One of Columbia College’s most distinguished programs is getting a new name. The Honors Program, which has provided an enriched academic experience to outstanding students since 1985, is being renamed the Dr. John Zubizarreta Honors Program at Columbia College. The change honors the contributions of Dr. John Zubizarreta , affectionately known as Dr. Z, who retired this spring after 32 years as the program’s director. 

“Dr. Z helped to shape the Honors Program into the exceptional program that it is today. His vision and leadership, along with his mentorship of other faculty members, have been invaluable to the growth and development of the program,” said Columbia College President Tom Bogart. “With more than 60 publications, 300 conference presentations, and decades of advocacy under his belt, Dr. Z has contributed greatly to the role honors programs play in national and international institutions of higher education. It is only fitting that the Honors Program at Columbia College bears his name.”

Zubizarreta joined the faculty of Columbia College as a Professor of English in 1987. In addition to serving as the director of the Honors Program, he served as a past Director of Faculty Development and former Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the College. He has won numerous national and international teaching awards including the 2010 Carnegie Foundation/CASE U.S. Professor for Baccalaureate Colleges and the 2018 National Collegiate Honors Council’s Sam Schuman Award for Excellence, the organization’s highest recognition for a faculty member at a four-year college or university. Zubizarreta has also been an active member of the collegiate honors education community, having served as president and a three-term board member of the National Collegiate Honors Council and as president of the Southern Regional Honors Council.

“John has been an incredible mentor to me during my time at Columbia College. He is the consummate teacher-scholar-mentor-leader,” said Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Marlee Marsh, who will be taking over as director of the Honors Program. “He has left huge shoes to fill.”


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