Hendrix Magazine

The Impact of Engagement

For some, the word Odyssey will conjure images of the epic Greek poem by Homer about Odysseus and his return to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. For others, Odyssey might simply mean an intellectual or spiritual journey or quest.

At Hendrix, Odyssey is the way in which students challenge what they learn in the classroom with what they encounter in the world through hands-on learning. It is how they discover their gifts, talents and passions. It means a liberal arts education is the beginning of a life’s journey, not the end of four years of studying and student life.

During A Commitment to National Leadership, alumni, friends and philanthropic organizations invested more than $5 million in gifts to endow this landmark initiative and provide the financial resources for students to fulfill their Odyssey. Since Your Hendrix Odyssey was introduced, the College’s Committee on Engaged Learning has considered nearly 800 funding requests for a total of $3,442,464.66 and has funded more than $1.7 million in project grants, supporting 526 projects involving more than 1,200 students.

Through the support of Odyssey grants, students have hiked the Appalachian Trail and chronicled Aboriginal culture. They have examined the face of Islam in Europe and Tibetan Buddhist monks exiled in India. They have studied social psychology, Southern poverty, and solar power.

With the excitement among prospective students created by Your Hendrix Odyssey, the student body grew from 1,000 students to a record enrollment this year of 1,468 students, representing 43 states and 14 countries. Not only are there more students. Because Hendrix is committed to a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, there are more professors teaching more courses. There are more majors and minors for students to explore. There are more mentors creating more engaged learning opportunities for students.

Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning earned national attention for Hendrix with hearty endorsements from Loren Pope’s Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College and U.S. News and World Report, which listed Hendrix as the nation’s #1 "Up and Coming" liberal arts two years in a row.

Through Odyssey, Hendrix College became a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education.