• Why did my daughter or son receive a nomination
for this program?
Because she or he has demonstrated promise in academic research
in the humanities or arts. Typically, the teacher of the First
Year Seminar, who is also the student’s first academic advisor,
makes the nomination. Nominated students have stood out for a
variety of reasons: they have strong academic records, they are
for being particularly smart and hard working, they are good at
writing and research, and they are notably effective in class
discussion. Students can also self-nominate because one semester
is not always enough for all of those qualities to be recognized
by students’ professors.
The Mellon Scholars Committee tries to identity students who are
not only gifted but are good matches for the goals of the Program.
• Why should my son or daughter apply to the program?
Students should apply if they going to major in the humanities or
arts and they are interested in scholarly research. The Mellon Scholars
Program seeks to create scholars who are well-grounded in traditional
liberal arts (reading, writing, presentation) but who are effective
at using the tools of the 21st century. Ideally, applicants should
also have an interest in combining new, Internet-based technology
with the traditional liberal arts. Typically, Mellon Scholars are
planning to apply for major awards, such as the Rhodes, Marshall,
and Fulbright, and they are planning to go to graduate school or
Increasingly, as traditional paths in higher education have been
redefined, Mellon Scholars are translating their interest in scholarly
research, critical thinking, and technology into the marketplace
as “intellectual entrepreneurs,” sometimes with the aim
of earning an MBA after a period of career exploration. The Mellon
Scholars Program supports all of those career paths, among others;
it encourages students to shape their undergraduate programs with
both intellectual exploration and practical opportunity in mind.
Double majors that include fields outside the arts or humanities
are common in the Mellon Scholars Program; more than that, they are
preferred as means of stimulating innovation and cultivating future
opportunities for students in a period of rapid change.
• What does the Mellon Scholars Program cost? How hard is
it to get in?
The Mellon Scholars Program does not cost the student anything,
except hard work and creativity. The program is entirely funded
by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program
designed to funnel additional financial and institutional resources
to a small cohort of carefully selected students. Historically,
only one application out of three is successful, and the applicants
are already an exceptionally talented group of students.
• What are the benefits of being in the program?
Essentially, the Mellon Scholars Program is a major investment in
a small group of talented students, and it adds considerable value
to the undergraduate experience in the following ways: a small, team-taught
seminar limited to other Mellon Scholars; exclusive membership in
a cohort of many of the most talented and ambitious students at Hope
College; two years of guaranteed access to one-on-one mentoring relationships
with Hope College Professors; substantial financial support for students
engaged in summer research on their own projects (not someone else’s);
travel funding for conferences; privileged access to technological
support and resources, including a dedicated New Media Studio; privileged
access to visiting scholars and distinguished speakers; and required
participation in scholarly conferences such as the Celebration for
There are other, long-term benefits. The early training of the Mellon
Sophomore Seminar in research, writing, technology, and presentation
is designed to enhance the skills of Mellon Scholars so that their
performance throughout their undergraduate program is significantly
elevated. In other words, Mellon Scholars should graduate with
a much higher GPA in addition to enhanced skills. Also, on the basis
of their academic training, Mellon Scholars have a considerable
advantage in applications for fellowships and to graduate programs;
that could mean considerably higher placement with more substantial
funding, which, in turn, has long-term career consequences. Completion
of the program is recognized at graduation ceremonies and on the
academic transcript. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is known
internationally for projects of academic and cultural distinction;
the program itself
is modeled on the History and Literature Honors Concentration
at Harvard University, and completion of the Mellon Scholars Program—and
the many research experiences that requires—is an accomplishment
with lifelong benefits.
• I have a few other questions that are not answered
here or on the Mellon Scholars Program ’s Website.
You are welcome to contact the Director, William Pannapacker, by
e-mail at Pannapacker@hope.edu, to arrange at appointment.