Academic Enrichment

Dominican Scholars of Hope

Dominican Scholars of Hope

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.

Dominican Scholars of HopeCommunity 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.

Program Benefits

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 semester
  • Participate in one community service project for the academic year
  • Participate in one campus service project for the academic year

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 College campus
  • Attending guest lectures followed by participation in discussion groups
  • Field trips to museums, plays, historical sites, etc.
  • Participation in retreats related to spiritual and personal growth
  • Participation in workshops related to good study habits and relationships
  • Participation in the Fanjeaux pilgrimage to southern France
  • 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 Culture

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 studies.

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 ways.

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 offer.

As a living-learning community, where do Dominican Scholars live?
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 Scholars.

If I join the program but do not like it, can I leave?
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?
Click 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 Hope

Dominican Scholars of Hope

Above: The Dominican Scholars of Hope recently raised money for the Dominican Sisters in Aleppo.

Dominican Scholars of Hope