The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program

The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program is a unique and vibrant four-year experience to challenge and engage the whole student, helping you to develop academically, spiritually, personally and socially while learning what it means to be a Catholic thinker and leader in today’s modern world.

Made possible by a generous $15-million donation from Paul (’60) and Frances Breitbach, students have made a big impact at Loras and beyond since the first class of Breitbach scholars entered in the fall of 2007.

Directed by Amanda Osheim, Ph.D., the program is intended to put Catholic teachings into action. Enrolled students take part in special versions of a Modes of Inquiry (MOI) course and a Catholic Traditions course. They study some of the key thinkers of the Catholic intellectual tradition like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Teresa of Avila, investigating ideas about the meaning of life and how one makes a significant contribution to the world.

  • $1,500 scholarship is awarded to 15 selected applicants.
  • Students must be accepted to Loras College in an undergraduate program.
  • Students must be Catholic to apply.
  • Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders application materials and essay must be received by January 9.
  • Email a 1,000 word essay describing your faith development and how you hope to live a life of faith and leadership, and a detailed list of your activities and involvements while in high school. Include in the email your activities & involvement.
  • Selected applicants will be invited to an on-campus interview in early-February, with acceptances to the program announced in mid-February.

The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program is comprised of 60 like-minded, but very diverse students, engaging in service leadership and academic work. You can major in anything from Media Studies and Education to Theology and Neuroscience. All participants have a shared experience by taking certain courses together as a cohort of 15 and receive a Catholic studies minor as they graduate. You will investigate Catholic thinkers and leaders such as Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day and John Paul II and their ideas about the meaning of life and how you can make a significant contribution to the world in your own way.

Included in the program are athletes, musicians and comedians; some students attended Catholic high schools while others attended public; there are first-generation college students and others who have had a whole string of family members attend Loras. You will have the opportunity to participate in monthly dinners with all Breitbach scholars, plan and attend events and retreats, serve the community, attend speakers and complete a Catholic Thinkers & Leaders portfolio project.  One of the greatest benefits of the program – An all-expense paid January term trip to Rome, Italy, your junior year!

Deadline for scholarship is January 9.
All application materials and essay must be received by January 9.

Applying for the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program

  • All application materials must be submitted, emailed and received by January 9, 2017.  You must also apply and be accepted into Loras College by January 9 in order for your application to the Breitbach program to be considered. 
  •  Breitbach Application materials include:
    • Breitbach program application form submission (scroll down to submit form).
    • Essay document followed by a list of your activities and involvements while in high school.  The essay portion should be under 1000 words and respond to the following prompt:  “Describe your development in faith and leadership, and how you plan to continue to grow as a ‘thinker and leader.’”
    • Email your essay including your list of activities in high school to
    • 2 recommendations (from non-family members) who can speak to your faith commitment and leadership qualities.  Recommenders should submit their letter and form using the Online Reference Form button below.

 Online Reference Form

For additional information feel free to please contact Dr. Amanda Osheim at or 563-588-7506.

Reference letters must be received by January 9, and may also be emailed to or mailed to:
Loras College Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program
c/o Carol Oberfoell – Mail #234
1450 Alta Vista Street
Dubuque, IA 52001

Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program Application Form
Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Application
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