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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities


What is it?

A distinctive, three-year program of faculty-student collaborative research and project-building, emphasizing experiential education and the Digital Liberal Arts. The program prepares liberal arts students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Mellon Scholars are among the most recognized, awarded, and successful students at Hope College. 

Who is it for?

Hope College students who intend to major or minor in an arts or humanities field (Art, Dance, Music, Theatre, English, History, Modern and Classical Languages, Philosophy, and Religion.)

What do students do?

In their second year, they take an exclusive seminar on research, writing, presentation, digital technology, grant writing, and project building in addition to traditional scholarship.   After that, students complete four “Mellon Experiences”: enhanced courses with outside faculty mentoring; group research and technology projects such as “Digital Holland”; and mentored independent research projects (“Senior Theses”) on a subject of intense interest.  Students are encouraged but not required to seek experiential career training at the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Digital Liberal Arts at Work Program in Philadelphia.  

What does it cost?

For students, nothing.  The program is underwritten by major grants from the Mellon Foundation.  Students are funded to present at academic conferences, and, in the summer, many students are paid to work on their research and projects as “Mellon Summer Fellows.”

How do you get into the program?

A competitive application process at the end of the first semester of college that considers a statement of interest, grades, writing samples, and faculty evaluations.  Exceptional students may seek “pre-admission” by the director. 

What happens after graduation?

The program prepares students for graduate programs and a variety of immediate career paths, particularly ones that combine technology, leadership, and student’s disciplinary interests.  In the past year, students have been admitted to Harvard, Michigan, the Sorbonne, the Fulbright Program, and careers as varied as co-directing a Rwandan orphanage, grants administration, social media marketing, and online journalism. 
How can I learn more?

Contact the director, Dr. William Pannapacker ( Visit the program’s Website (search “Mellon Scholars,” includes interviews with students, examples of projects, and program guidelines and history), Facebook page (“Hope College Mellon Scholars,” announcements and accomplishments), WordPress Blog (, student experiences), and Twitter feed (@mellonscholars, connections to other scholars and professionals).