2013 Honors Institute Newsletter

Honors Institute 2013 Newsletter
Alabama Region June / July Newsletter

Greetings Alabama!

picture of Villanova University

I was pleased to see our region so well represented at this year’s Honor’s Institute. Even though the Institute is my favorite Phi Theta Kappa event, I hesitate to share my experience with you. This is born strictly out of a desire not to influence your own experience during next year’s Institute. You see, there are so many elements to the event that everyone’s experience will be vastly different. Even my own experience in Villanova varied different from last year’s.

In regards to the program, I think headquarters outdid itself this year. As usual, the speakers were phenomenal. Prior to my arrival, I had been most looking forward to Temple Grandin’s presentation. Having never been a fan of either history or sports, I was also skeptical about the additions to the program, touring Independence Hall and attending the Phillies game. I was surprised to find myself enjoying this portion of the program the most. Furthermore, these additions gave us a first-hand look at the culture of competition that allowed my group to better dissect the topic.

Of course, Honors Institute is not all about the programming. The smaller number attending and the seminar group format promises a more intimate setting and this year proved no different. The sharing of ideas and think-tanking was on a level that I can rarely find in my day-to-day life. The connections made were more than just networking. Indeed, bonds of friendship that have the strength to persist, despite miles, were formed.

The final element is the location. Despite the beauty of the Villanova campus, I preferred last year’s location, Denver University. Admittedly, this may be due to the larger number of accessible places to get gourmet coffee at nearly any hour of day or night.

Jeff Patterson
Alabama Regional President


I hope that all of you are having a fabulous summer! It’s going by so quickly. I cannot believe the summer is close to being over! With that being said, I hope that all of you are getting a great start on your Honors in Action and College Projects. I know you all have been working very hard.

pictures of Phi Theta Kappa night at Phillies ballpark

Honors Institute…I don’t even know where to begin! It was such an awesome experience. I enjoyed getting to really know everybody. I felt like we became a little family! I never thought I would come home with so many new friendships!! I think everyone who went would agree with me! I also enjoyed the speakers. From going back to Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to Bill Rancic to Temple Grandin to The Capitol Steps, I honestly learned more than I ever imagined!! I was able to learn about the Culture of Competition from nearly every aspect. Even though each speaker was wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed Temple Grandin. She is such an inspiration. If you are not familiar with her, I strongly encourage you to watch her movie or read one of her books. She is just incredible. She truly shows how you can overcome anything and become successful!!

I hope that all of you enjoy the rest of your summer! I would love to come and visit each of you throughout this year, so please keep me informed of events going on at your school. As always, if I can be any help, I am only an email, phone call, or text away!

Laura Tidmore
Alabama Regional Vice President,
District 3
Alpha Eta Tau
Wallace Community College, Selma

My time at Honors Institute at Villonova University was one of the most unforgettable weeks of my life. When I was first told about Honors Institute at the International Convention in San Jose by Jeff, he held his tongue on what exactly the experience would be like. The experience I had in Philadelphia has definitely given me a new perspective on not just Phi Theta Kappa, but my life.

picture of speakers at 2013 Honors Institute

Some of the best moments that I had on the trip were just spending time with my fellow Phi Theta Kappans. I can remember the first person I met throughout the week. Her name was Jan Rog, an advisor for her chapter from the Kansas City, Missouri area. She was sitting alone at her table the first night we had dinner, so naturally I had to speak to her. That was a common theme for me throughout the week: I was going to meet everyone I possibly could. I was able to gather business cards from people from Texas, Ohio, Florida, Michigan Wisconsin, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and from almost every State in the Union it seems like. I hope to keep in contact with the many friends I made over the next year, so that the bonds that we made are real and true.

Every speaker that was the Institute was great. Some better than others, but in every speech or presentation I was fully engaged and locked into listening what they had to say. Each speaker had me thinking, and it was so strange to me that I was encouraged to disagree with what they were saying. The speaker that truly had me evaluate the way I “ think” was Temple Grandin. I learned through what she was saying that I am a verbal thinker. Her speech was short, simple, and to the point, but I believe that her speech was the best of the week. The Q&A session with her was very interesting as well. The one thing that kept happening when people would ask her a question is that she would ask multiple follow-up questions. I could not help but laugh just a little bit when people would be surprised on how many questions that she had about their question.

God willing, I hope to never lose the memories that I made at Honors Institute this year. Getting closer to those in my chapter, my region and those from all over the country made that week one of the best of my life. I am glad that the 2013 Phi Theta Kappa Honors Institute was a part of my journey called “life.”

Gabe Marrero
Regional Vice President, District Two
Sigma Lambda
Calhoun Community College

Hello District 1 Phi Theta Kappans!

pictures of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Regional Team and other members of the Alabama region just got back from the 2013 Honors Institute. It was a very exciting and intense week. We all listened to outstanding speakers, visited downtown Philadelphia and even watched Philly’s baseball game. Of all the speakers we listened to, Carlotta Walls LaNier’s story of her struggle of equality was the most enlightening. Carlotta Walls LaNier is best known as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the first wave of black students to begin the desegregation of American schools following the Supreme Court's long overdue determination that segregated schooling was unconstitutional.

John Clements
Vice President, District 1

Upcoming Events

  • 2013 Regional Honors in Action Leadership Conference
    (September 13-14 at the 4-H Conference Center in Columbiana, AL)
  • 2014 Regional Convention
    (March 7-8 at the Shelby campus, Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, AL)
  • 2014 Annual Convention
    (April 24-26 at the Walt Disney World Swan And Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL)