Although it was close to a year ago, I remember Scholars Weekend like it was yesterday.  My parents and I made the trip to Philadelphia in early March with high hopes that I would be one of the select few to receive the Deans’ Scholarship, a full-tuition merit award.  Despite experiencing a frigid Nor’easter, we fell in love with Saint Joseph’s. After touring the campus, sitting in on lectures, and talking to students and faculty members, it became apparent that Saint Joseph’s was a place that would support me in my journey to become a stronger leader.  With the many clubs, professional groups, and service opportunities, I knew that if I were to attend this incredible Jesuit institution, I would be able to make an immense impact.

Fortunately, about a week after returning home from my interview, I found out that I was offered the Deans’ Scholarship!  I felt beyond blessed and honored to be presented with this, and not long after, I proudly put down my deposit to become a Hawk.  Although I would be leaving my home in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, I knew that I would thrive here. Saint Joseph’s would provide me with an environment where I could live, act, and be greater.

And so, since stepping onto campus in August, I feel as though I have embodied “the magis” and lived up to my title as a Deans’ Scholar.  As a student in the Honors Program, I have excelled in the classroom, and as a Risk Management and Insurance major, I have been an active member of Gamma Iota Sigma.  In addition, I founded and preside over Hawk Hill Law, a student-run club with over seventy members. I was also elected onto the Peer Review Board, joined the Service-Learning program, and got a job working as an Office Hawk.  

Getting involved on campus is not a requirement for the Deans’ Scholarship recipients.  The Admissions staff does not mandate that recipients do XYZ or join a certain amount of clubs.  Instead, Deans’ Scholars take it upon themselves to make a difference on Hawk Hill. In fact, my roommate Aidan L. started his own Radio 1851 sports talk show where he interviewed ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.  Not only that, two of my close friends, Nick P. and Paul K., have taken the campus by storm.  Collectively, they are a part of the Dean’s Leadership Program and Campus Ministry’s First Year Leadership Team, and also participate in countless hours of service, both locally and in El Salvador.

In sum, one of my favorite quotes comes from a man by the name of Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School.  In an article from the Harvard Business Review, he states: “[Leaders] take responsibility by acting directly and forcefully.”  I believe this quote is extremely applicable to Deans’ Scholars, as we all actively search to seize opportunities.  Recipients of this highly-desired award do not sit back and wait for things to be handed to them, but instead, blaze their own trails and make names for themselves through their actions and ambitions.  Deans’ Scholars are leaders, pioneers, and movers-and-shakers; we live greater and epitomize “the magis.”

— Connor Thomson