The Dominican Scholars of Hope (DSH) is a nonacademic
living-learning community for highly motivated freshmen. Rooted in
the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of Mount
Saint Mary College, the program seeks to cultivate the
intellectual, spiritual, and moral capacities of students. The
program is inspired by the four pillars of Dominican life: study,
spirituality, community, and service.
The DSH program will provide students the opportunity to engage
in community service activities both on campus and in the local
community. The service activities vary from semester to semester,
and depend upon the interests of the students.
As a Dominican Scholar, you will be a member of a small group of
students who are challenged to develop their abilities and talents.
The program offers you a unique opportunity to cultivate the
intellectual skills and leadership abilities that will help you in
the remainder of your college career. After successful completion
of the program, you will be presented a special certificate at a
reception for you and your family.
Membership and Eligibility
Membership in the DSH program is based upon an incoming freshman
student’s high school academic record and demonstrated commitment
to community service. Eligible members are identified after their
acceptance to the College and are sent a letter of invitation
before the beginning of freshman year.
Members of the Dominican Scholars of Hope are expected to:
- Abide by standards set for community living in residence
- Participate in three DSH community events each academic
- Participate in one community service project for the academic
- Participate in one campus service project for the academic
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some community events that Dominican Scholars
can participate in?
The DSH offers a wide variety of community events. Students are
free to select whatever events they think will be most beneficial
to them and fit their schedules. Some of the events are:
- Informal group discussions organized around specific topics
related to the liberal arts tradition. Examples of topics are: What
is the purpose of my life? Am I truly free? Is there such a thing
as destiny? Does God really exist? What makes something beautiful?
Why is there evil in the world?
- Themed lunches and dinners hosting a guest faculty speaker
- Participation in community service to the Mount Saint Mary
- Attending guest lectures followed by participation in
- Field trips to museums, plays, historical sites, etc.
- Participation in retreats related to spiritual and personal
- Participation in workshops related to good study habits and
- Participation in the Fanjeaux pilgrimage to southern
- Participation in the annual Philosophy Workshop that is held
each summer in conjunction with the Dominican House of Studies,
Washington, D.C. and Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and
Do Dominican Scholars have to take any special courses
or follow a particular major?
No. The DSH program is not an academic program and there are no
formal course requirements for members. However, the program
provides students opportunities to cultivate the healthy habits of
the mind and heart that can enhance their academic performance. The
program aims to help students learn outside the traditional
classroom setting through various extra-curricular activities and
small discussion circles with faculty mentors and the academic
support staff of the College. All activities are voluntary and are
broad enough to be beneficial to any major or course of
Can I be a member of the Honors Program and the
Dominican Scholars Program?
Yes. Because the DSH has no formal course requirements,
there is no conflict between the academic opportunities provided by
the DSH program and the Honors Program. In fact, membership in both
programs can complement each other because both programs aim to
nurture the intellectual life of the student, but in different
If I am a Dominican Scholar, can I still participate in
other campus clubs and sports teams?
Yes! The DSH program strongly encourages students to be involved
in all the wonderful clubs and teams that the Mount has to
As a living-learning community, where do Dominican
There is no special dorm or housing for Dominican Scholars.
Freshmen girls live in Sakac Hall, and freshmen boys reside in
Guzman Hall. Students may ask to room with other Dominican
If I join the program but do not like it, can I
Yes. The DSH program is completely voluntary, and you are free to
withdraw from it at any time without any negative consequences.
How can I apply for the program?
here to fill out the online application form.
If I have any questions about the Dominican Scholars of
Hope program, whom should I contact?
Dr. Charles Zola, Director, Dominican Scholars of
Above: The Dominican Scholars of Hope recently raised money
for the Dominican Sisters in Aleppo.