Al Marchese was admitted to Middlebury College, a small liberal arts school in rural Vermont where he intended to enjoy small classes and play football.
But his educational path was diverted west by scholarship and job offers from the University of Utah. They were sweetened by 500 inches of annual snow in the nearby Wasatch Mountains and a seat in the Honors College, the U. program that tries to replicate a Middlebury experience on the campus of a major public research university.
"I really wanted that small-college atmosphere where I could really engage with faculty," Marchese said Thursday as he moved his belongings into the new Honors College residence hall, a five-story T-shaped building east of the Huntsman Center. The U. kicked off fall classes Monday.
Formally called the Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community, the 309-bed building is the first in the state to integrate academic and residential life under one roof. Its Sept. 21 dedication will be a coming-of-age party for the program, now entering its 50th year.