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Faith & Reason Honors Program

In August of 2001, DeSales University was named as one of six finalists in a national grant competition among Catholic colleges and universities (funded by Dr. Donald D'Amour, chief executive officer of Big Y Foods, Inc.).  DSU received a grant in the amount of $75,000 to initiate a new program that would explore faith and reason in a liberal arts education. 

After completing the requisite university approvals, the honors program began with the enrollment of its first class in Fall 2002 and the offering of the first course in Spring 2003.

The aim of this program is to provide scholarship-level students with a unique opportunity to explore the "big questions" in life, in a small cohort of students, guided by senior-level faculty at DSU.  Its inspiration and organization come from the encyclical letter on this topic written by John Paul II

"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. ... [A] cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life? ... They are questions which have their common sources in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart. In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives."
JOHN PAUL II, Fides et Ratio, no. 1




The honors program comprises three main components. (Follow the links for more detailed information.)  

► Honors Seminars

one-credit classes each semester,
in the form of"conversations"
about the big questions of life

► Cultural Events

off-campus educational experiences,
typically one each semester,
chosen by individuals or classes

► Honors Thesis

an independent project by which
Seniors research, write,present
and publish a major paper


Student participation in the Faith & Reason Honors Program is competitive, usually limited to a maximum of fifteen (15) students in each academic class.  Membership in the program is by invitation only and requires a completed application.

Student and faculty participants in the program gather annually for an Honors Colloquium.  At this event the "Faith & Reason" award is presented to the student judged to have written the best honors thesis that year. At the end of the academic year, the senior theses are edited and published in an honors journal entitled On the Wings of Truth which is made available through our online library.

Each semester, students in the Honors Program enjoy "priority pre-registration" for all their classes. Students who complete all components of the program have their participation noted on their university transcripts and receive recognition of their accomplishment at the University's commencement ceremonies.

Ordinarily, if a student misses more than two seminars in a semester, s/he will be dismissed from the honors program unless there is a serious extenuating circumstance for an additional absence.