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Kairos Scholars – Community, Service and Learning

“Kairos” is Greek for the “right time or place” or the “right word at the right time.” Proverbs 25:11: “Like golden fruit served on silver plate are words spoken at the right time and place.”

The Kairos Scholars honors program at Lee University exists for students whose purpose is to get the most out of their undergraduate college experience. While many honors programs and academic societies cater to highly motivated individuals looking for an extra line on their résumé, the Kairos Scholars Honors Program emphasizes a holistic college life. The program offers a quality academic experience under the instruction of some of LeeU’s finest professors. But it also offers a chance to be closely involved with a dedicated group of people who want to round out college life with meaningful activities outside the classroom.


The Kairos Scholars Honors Program fosters community. It is the oldest and longest running learning community at Lee. One of the primary elements of the program is a chance to work alongside students who share similar priorities and goals. Many lifelong friendships spring from these key relationships. Kairos alumni remark most frequently on the community aspect of the program and how it became a kind of “home” for them, a place to feel included and appreciated. Fellow scholars take seriously the role of supporting one another during difficult portions of the collegiate journey, and they embrace one another’s dreams and projects. As they learn and serve together, Kairos Scholars begin to understand their place in the larger community around them and hopefully their responsibilities as citizens of their localities, their countries and the world.


The Kairos Scholars Honors Program values service. The program is best for people who have a vision not only for themselves but also for others. This goes beyond checking off those boxes in high school or college to meet service requirements. Most Kairos Scholars engage in far more service than the required hours simply because they have a heart for helping people. But service isn’t limited to community projects; it may also include assuming leadership in campus organizations. The hundred or so Kairos Scholars are widely distributed among academic and service organizations across campus. It’s not at all unusual to see them in leadership roles in those organizations. This is just another way Kairos Scholars serve their community.


The Kairos Scholars Honors Program is dedicated to learning. While college life isn’t limited to hitting the books, Kairos Scholars prioritize their lives around learning. About 36 credit hours (12 courses) available to Kairos Scholars are exclusive classes designed especially for them. These classes are taught by some of Lee’s finest faculty with degrees from Harvard, UChicago, Penn State, UToronto, Emory and Marquette, to name a few (see the faculty bio page). Students engage in active scholarship as part of their classes and as part of the larger community of learning on campus. Many of them present research at state and national student honors conferences or engage in other intercollegiate academic activities as part of the academic societies to which they belong.


Photo Dec 12, 2 22 44 PMThe benefits to being a part of Kairos Scholars include participation in a truly engaged learning community. In addition, students in the program receive the following:

  • Early priority course scheduling for every semester
  • Direct access to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for issues and concerns
  • Many courses specially designed for Kairos Scholars only and other customized curricular choices
  • A full calendar of cultural and academic events for enrichment
  • Unique opportunities for service and participation on and off campus
  • Special study abroad programs and summer courses
  • Kairos Scholars graduation medallion, cords and diploma
  • Honors courses designated on the student transcript (upon request)


Another signature motto for Kairos Scholars is: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48) While membership in the Kairos Scholars brings many benefits, the emphasis is greater than earning a spot on an exclusive roster of high achieving students. Kairos Scholars form a society that relies heavily on the involvement of its members to flourish. This society has officers (the Advisory Council) and a full and active annual agenda. That agenda is designed around the student participants, their needs, their priorities and a collective vision for meaningful collegiate engagement. Without active participation in the life of the society and dedication of time and energy to the mission of Kairos Scholars, the society is just a paper entity with little value to the institution or the student.

To remain a member in good standing of the Kairos Scholars, therefore, each student participant is expected to:

  • Maintain the requisite GPA of 3.5
  • Work toward the completion of 24 honors credit hours
  • Attend Kairos General Assemblies
  • Join an Advisory Council Committee and help fulfill the duties assigned to that committee
  • Participate in Kairos campus and off-campus events

Because the program is designed to be a genuine learning community, all Kairos freshmen must take the LEEU-101, the honors freshmen seminar, and  ENGL-110-HON Rhetoric and Research (regardless of AP or dual enrollment) in their first semester and at least one other honors designated course in their second semester (see the course listing for more details).

While the commitment to Kairos is vital for students to receive the benefits it has to offer, students should understand that it is not so burdensome as to make it difficult to be a part of many other student organizations and endeavors.


To be eligible to apply or to join Kairos Scholars, students must qualify for the Presidential Scholarship at Lee University (minimum score of 27 on the ACT or 1250 on the SAT).

If you meet the above minimal requirement and are interested in being selected for the Kairos Scholars, please click on the Application menu above and follow the instructions there, paying special attention to the posted deadlines for consideration by the selection committee.

The Right Place at the Right Time

Many of the students who apply for the Kairos Scholars have come from high school honors programs or societies with preconceptions of what an honors program is or should be. Chances are that the Kairos Scholars honors program is unlike anything they have experienced before—or perhaps even expected. We want students to be fully aware of the nature of the program to which they have been invited. Not everyone invited into the program will feel Kairos Scholars represents the best investment of their time, talent and energy, and that’s perfectly fine. However, for those students who want to extract a fuller measure of their college experience with us, we truly hope that the Kairos Scholars represents the right place at the right time for you—and for us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

J. Matthew Melton, Ph.D.
Kairos Scholars Director