Eileen G. Jones Honors College at Commonwealth University Bloomsburg Lock Haven Mansfield Clearfield

Eileen G. Jones Honors College

The Eileen G. Jones Honors College at Commonwealth University provides exceptional opportunities for high-achieving and high-potential students like you to expand your cultural and personal boundaries while reaching your intellectual and career goals.

Enter smart. Leave brilliant.

Imagine a college experience that begins by applauding you for your high achievement and immense potential and also...

  • Welcomes you into a diverse and close-knit community of students and faculty who know that smart is just the beginning of who you are.
  • Engages you with daily opportunities for truly deep and experiential learning in the fields that interest you most.
  • Provides you with the one-on-one support and small classes you’d expect at a small, private college while providing all the benefits, activities, and affordability of a regional public university.
  • Helps you optimize your four years at Commonwealth U to cultivate the skills, tools, and confidence necessary to achieve your goals after graduation.
  • Warmly welcomes students of all races, ethnicities, socio-economic classes, genders, sexual identities, abilities, and religions.

Stephen J. Jones, a 1983 graduate of Bloomsburg University, and his wife, Melanie Sanchez-Jones, have gifted more than $7 million to the Honors College. In recognition of their incredible philanthropy, the CU Honors College was named the Eileen G. Jones Honors College, a tribute to Jones' mother.

The Jones Honors College is available to CU students at the Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Mansfield, and Clearfield campuses. 

The Honors Experience

It’s designed for academically gifted students like you who want the very best experience that an undergraduate education can offer: an innovative and inspiring interdisciplinary curriculum, a cohort of creative and passionate peers, and the professional guidance and support to explore, create, learn, and succeed brilliantly.

The Jones Honors College combines the affordability, resources, academics, and campus life of a comprehensive state university with the seminar-style classes, personal attention, close interaction with faculty, and supportive community you would expect at a prestigious liberal arts college. From your very first day on campus — when current Honors students and staff welcome you to the Honors Learning Community — to when you graduate with Honors with a world-class resumé, you will be immersed in an undergraduate experience that is every bit as supportive, enriching, and personalized as any university in the country.

Honors Housing and the First Year Experience

Commonwealth University-Lock Haven, formerly Lock Haven University, students outside of the historic Honors House
Lock Haven Honors students outside the historic Honors House on the Lock Haven campus.

As a first-year Honors student, you’ll automatically be part of the Honors Learning Community (LC). The Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield campuses have dedicated Honors housing with common spaces allowing Honors students 24/7 access to social/study spaces. In no time at all, you’ll get to know other Honors students and become acclimated to your campus and the surrounding area. If you are a residential student, living with a cohort of other first-year Honors students can help you find friends quickly, get inside answers to all your questions, and make connections that will last long after college life is over. If you are a commuter, you still have 24/7 access to the full suite of Honors facilities, events, and support staff. 

Your first year in Honors is much more than just where you live and who you meet. All first year Honors students are matched with an upper-level Honors peer mentor to help you navigate the transition to college life and learning. Each campus has Honors faculty directors to assist you with academic advising. Event opportunities abound for first year Honors students. Whether it’s paddling a kayak at Crystal Lake during our first year retreat in September, hiking at a local state park, joining a team for trivia night, making art with friends, or just roasting s’mores over a campfire on campus, we have events for all tastes, talents, and abilities. And, of course, no Honors program would be worthy of the name without an engaging, immersive Honors curriculum. 

The Honors Curriculum

At the heart of the Jones Honors College is an interdisciplinary, experiential academic curriculum that offers you:

  • Small, discussion-based Honors classes, many of which include field trips
  • Independent, student-driven, capstone project with dedicated faculty mentors
  • Intensive, one-on-one engagement with faculty and peers
  • Ongoing, individualized attention
  • Skills-based, leadership training through social, civic, academic, and professional  events
  • Personalized guidance on study-abroad and service opportunities
  • Freedom to explore ideas and opportunities across disciplines and around the globe

Program Requirements

To graduate from the Jones Honors College, a student must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and complete the following requirements:

  • 10 credits of Honors College courses (three Honors general education seminars plus an independent study corresponding with your capstone project).
  • 16 hours of volunteer service work each academic year.
  • 2 high impact, immersive experiences, such as study abroad, research with a faculty member, a professional internship, an original creative work, or a substantial campus leadership experience.
  • Attendance at 2 University and/or Honors sponsored events per semester.
  • Senior Capstone Project informed by one of your high impact experiences.

Admission Requirements

Commonwealth University-Mansfield, formerly Mansfield University, honors college students lounge at Spruce Residence Hall
Mansfield Honors students relax and study in the Honors lounge in Spruce Hall.

In order to be considered for admission to the Jones Honors College, you'll need to submit your Commonwealth U Application (through the Office of Admissions) and be admitted to the University. Upon receiving your application, Admissions will determine your eligibility to join the Honors College.

First-Year Students

  • GPA of 95 or above (no essay required). Congratulations! On the basis of your outstanding academic record in high school, you will receive an invitation in your Admissions Portal to join the Honors College. Simply accept this invitation. However, please keep in mind that space in the Honors College is limited. Accept the invitation and guarantee your spot now, while space is still available. Once the Honors College is full, we will move to a wait list for qualified applicants.
  • GPA of 90 to 94.9 (essay required and optional supplementary materials). Congratulations! You have been invited to apply for admission to the Honors College. To complete this application, submit an essay using one of the two prompts in the Admissions Portal and submit any supplementary materials that showcase your suitability for Honors such as a creative project or a description of outstanding leadership.

Transfer and Current Students

We encourage transfer and current CU students to apply for admission to the Honors College. Admission is based on the following criteria:

  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative university GPA.
  • Minimum 15 earned university credits.
  • No more than 60 earned university credits at the time of application (some exceptions may apply).
  • A short interview with an Honors College Director or Dean. Contact us to set up an appointment.
  • A single-spaced, one-page essay outlining your reasons for joining the Honors College. To help you structure the essay, we encourage you to review the Honors College’s Mission Statement.

Honors College Mission Statement: The Commonwealth University Honors College seeks to cultivate a diverse, dynamic community of high-achieving scholars and ethical leaders who understand their roles as global citizens. Through interdisciplinary, creative, and challenging coursework, co-curricular experiences, and a capstone experience, the program provides opportunities for students to expand their cultural and personal boundaries while reaching their intellectual and career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

While some majors at Commonwealth University have honor societies, these organizations are typically reserved for juniors and seniors in that major who make specific GPA and service minimums. Honor societies are membership organizations and may charge fees. The Commonwealth Honors College distinguishes itself from these major-specific organizations by fostering a community of high-achieving students in an engaging curricular and co-curricular program that spans your entire four-years at Bloomsburg. The benefits of the Honors College are distinct from, and complementary to, what you will find in a major-specific honor society.

Yes! We welcome students from all majors.

The first thing we look at is your cumulative high school grade point average. If yours is 95% or higher, great! You will automatically receive an invitation to join the Honors College. If your GPA is between 90% and 95%, you will be invited to write a short essay based on your choice of a couple of prompts. We will assess this group of applicants based on your essay and your high school transcripts.

If you are in the 95%+ GPA group, you will get an invitation to join the Honors College shortly after your application is submitted. If you are in the 90-94.9% GPA group, it will take a bit longer because Honors staff will review your essay and any supplementary materials. Our goal is to have a decision offer sent to each accepted applicant within 30 days of receiving your essay.

Currently, the Honors College is not offering separate scholarships for incoming students. For questions about available scholarships and financial aid, please visit our scholarship site. Instead, the Honors College is pleased to offer funding to help students complete their required two High Impact Experiences (HIE) such study abroad, an internship, or research with a professor. Students often supplement these funds with Professional Experience Grants (PEG).

No additional fee or tuition is required to participate in the Honors College.

Yes! We have had many students successfully pass through the Honors College who were varsity athletes, passionate thespians, dedicated musicians, and active members of student government. We encourage all of our students to take advantage of the many extracurricular opportunities at CU. We will work with you to ensure you have time to meet your program requirements for Honors while still fulfilling all of your other obligations.

Yes! In fact, we strongly recommend that all interested Honors students study abroad. Better still, we have Honors scholarships and grants to help students pay for their study abroad experiences. Commonwealth faculty-led study abroad course locations include Morocco, London, Belize, Austria, and Italy, with more on the way. Additionally, the University has exchange programs with several universities worldwide, many of which offer exceptionally affordable opportunities to spend an entire semester studying abroad.

Absolutely! We encourage all interested prospective students to schedule a visit. You can visit the Honors College and meet with our students, faculty, and staff by contacting the Office of Admissions or by reaching out to us directly individually via email or by phone (570-389-5481) for a personalized tour through one of the Honors College contacts below.

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Honors College Contacts


John Hintz

  • Interim Dean of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • University-wide
Holle Canatella headshot Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania

Holle Canatella

  • Associate Professor; Program Director – Lock Haven Honors
  • Lock Haven