May 062012
 
Authors: Amanda Zetah

Robert Keller, the CSU honors program director, will be retiring this semester. He plans to stay at the university and teach economics courses after his contract finishes on June 30.

Keller has been with the program since the 1990s, teaching classes and serving on the Faculty Honors Council. He later served as its director for 13 years before making the decision to retire.

“I still hope to be able to teach in the program,” Keller said.
The honors program was first created in 1957. It started with one small seminar of 15 students, co-taught by two professors. One professor was Willard Eddy, whom the Eddy building on campus is named after.

Since then, the program has grown exponentially each year. Keller estimated that around 370 freshmen will enter the program next fall.

“There is definitely a cap on the number of students we admit. We target anywhere between 350 to 370 freshmen each year,” Keller said.

Most students major in science or engineering, although the program is open to all majors. Students with a 4.0 and a 32 ACT are automatically admitted, but most students have to complete an application. Applicants must have at least a 3.7 GPA and a high standardized test score to qualify for admission.

Keller was most proud of his time spent reinventing the program and successfully recruiting “a number of quality students,” he said. He devoted his time as director to doubling the size of the program, recruiting high achieving students and hiring qualified faculty to teach the courses.

“Bob is really the face of the honors program,” said Diane Burton, the assistant director of the program. She was hired by Keller seven years ago and has watched him make important policy decisions, meet with administration, parents, faculty and students during her stay.

Keller plans to continue a strong relationship with both students and faculty in the honors program.

“I have full confidence that (the new candidates) will have new direction and new ideas,” Keller said. “The ball is really in their hands.”

Three candidates are currently being interviewed to fill his position. There is a selection committee that will replace Keller with the best possible choice. The decision will not be made until mid-summer.

Collegian writer Amanda Zetah can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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