The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Program

Thank you for your interest in the Breitbach Thinkers and Leaders Program. This application is currently closed. Please contact your admission representative to learn about other opportunities and scholarships.

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 yearly scholarship in addition to other merit-based aid from the College.
    • January term course in Italy with travel expenses paid.
    • Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders application materials and recommendations must be received by December 14, 2018. See details below.
    • Selected applicants will be invited to an on-campus interview in February, with acceptances to the program announced later in the month.
    • Students must be accepted to Loras College in an undergraduate program before December 14.
    • Students must be Roman Catholic to apply.

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!

All application materials and essay must be received by December 14.

Applying for the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program

All application materials must be submitted, emailed, and received by December 14, 2018.  You must also apply and be accepted into Loras College by December 14 in order for your application to the Breitbach program to be considered.

  • Breitbach Application materials include:
    • Breitbach program application (online application available in late summer / early fall ).
    • A 1,000 word essay thoughtfully answering  the following questions:  How have faith, learning, and leadership been connected in your life so far?  How do you plan to continue to grow as a Catholic thinker and leader?
    • A completed copy of the activities resume (view activities resume sample).
    • Email the essay and activities resume 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 our 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 December 14, 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