In 1985, NJIT established an Honors Program to encourage and challenge its brightest and most motivated students. Dr. Richard Sher, Professor of History and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts, was its first director. The approach taken was to stimulate students intellectually with a thorough and well-balanced education. Special activities, rigorous courses, lectures and a colloquium series made up the program.
The first twenty-eight Honors students began their studies in the Fall of 1985, growing to 160 in 1990. The first graduates had succeeded academically and obtained jobs in prominent corporations or had chosen to further their education by entering graduate training or schools of medicine or law.
Ms. Ruth Baker succeeded Dr. Sher as Director of the Honors Program in 1991. Under Ms. Baker's direction, and with the assistance of Dr. Dennis Donahue as Faculty Coordinator and Honors Advisor, she worked with President Saul K. Fenster, Dr. William Mech of the National Collegiate Honors Council, deans, and faculty to formulate the Honors College.
President Fenster engaged Albert Dorman, class of '45, in the development of NJIT's fifth college. Mr. Dorman's special interest and generous endowment helped to create the Albert Dorman Honors College in 1995. Mr. Dorman's endowment, along with other gifts, allowed the Honors College to attract a greater number of students, growing from 230 in 1995 to over 700 students today. Honors scholarships were created, and a strong educational foundation was fashioned.
Dr. Joel Bloom, Vice President for Academic & Student Services, was named the first Dean of the Honors College. Other changes included a stronger and more active Honors student council and additional staff to support student opportunities and activities including a greater variety of colloquia, study trips, research activities, and publications. Since this time, the Honors College has seen major growth in the number of Honors and Honors-enhanced courses and in the number of research and other projects undertaken by its students. New programs, including accelerated programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, and law, have added to the diversity of offerings.
The Honors Residence Hall, a goal of the second Strategic Plan, was opened in September of 2013. The new 2015-2020 Strategic Plan emphasizes Academic Excellence through Learner-Centered Education, Leadership and Professional Development through Community Engagement, and High Visibility through Technological Outreach and Partnerships.
In 2015, the Albert Dorman Honors College celebrated 20 years of excellence and looks forward to many more years of innovation, education, and leadership.