Donnelly Scholars

The Donnelly Scholars program was established in 2008 to serve First Generation College (FGC) students at Spring Hill College.

FGC students are defined as students whose parents did not graduate from four-year institutions.

Second Generation students have an advantage over FGC students in that their parents have knowledge about how to maneuver through the college/university system.

The Donnelly Scholars program exists in order to close the gap on that advantage. We help FGC students quickly learn how to move through Spring Hill’s system so that they are equipped to become successful alumni. Our ultimate goal is to assist FGC students to achieve their academic and personal goals.

For more information and to apply for the Donnelly Scholars program, please contact:

Ashley Dunklin


Concerns for FGC students

FGC students face issues that are unique to them. By participating in the Donnelly Scholars program, FGC students can become better equipped to handle concerns like:

  • existing in two worlds: one at home and one at college

  • time management

  • personal management

  • feeling overwhelmed

  • negotiating the college system

  • transitioning to a more rigorous academic load

  • managing money on a tight budget

  • changes in family and personal relationships

  • connecting to the overall campus community

Program Overview

Students who wish to participate in the Donnelly Scholars program must meet the following criteria:

  • Be first generation college students

  • Be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours

  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing

  • Demonstrate a willingness to succeed

The Donnelly Scholars program provides academic and social support to FGC students in an effort to assist students in realizing their greatest potential. The Director for Academic Support is responsible for coordinating the program.

1. Student Success Coach

The Student Success Coach (Coach) is a full-time college employee who serves as an additional resource for Donnelly Scholars. The Coach meets with first and second year scholars regularly on an individual basis to help scholars set goals, establish plans of action and evaluate goals.

2. Peer Mentoring Program

All first year scholars will be paired with a returning Donnelly Scholar who has successfully completed at least one year of study. Mentors will meet with first year scholars at least twice a month. In the past, mentors have spent time with mentees at:

  • one-on-one meetings around meals

  • club meetings

  • athletic events

  • Donnelly Scholars social events

  • lectures

  • community service events

3. Faculty Mentoring Program

Third and fourth year scholars will be assigned to a faculty mentor in their disciplines. Faculty mentors are not necessarily academic advisors for scholars. Faculty mentors will work with scholars to continue goal setting, execution and evaluation. They will also work with scholars to provide resources that relate directly to the scholars’ major area of study.

Note: Donnelly Scholars who fail to fully participate in the program will forfeit their eligibility for additional scholarship funds from the program.