Leadership Honors Program

Updated May 8th, 2020

JPCatholic’s new Leadership Honors Program (LHP) offers highly motivated sophomores–who aspire to create a leadership legacy–the opportunity to nurture their understanding and deepen their mastery of leadership over 2-academic years. Drawing students from all undergraduate degree programs, the LHP provides an enriching academic environment that fosters a strong sense of community and challenges students to direct and utilize their gifts in the service of others. The Honors program challenges students to think and to discern how to transform their leadership ambitions into action.

Given the challenges facing our communities, locally and globally, our program is based on the premise that Honors students have an obligation to use their intellectual, emotional and leadership gifts to develop: an understanding of the world in its complexities; an ability to listen to and engage with divergent opinions; the use of critical thinking skills to find novel solutions to the challenges; and most importantly, a moral framework to discern the ethical implications of their actions.

The program fundamentally recognizes that the leadership aspirations of each and every student is different, and it meets them where they are. The programs curricular and co-curricular activities cultivate their God-given aspirations. Through active mentorship, faculty guide them as they select and build a sustainable on-campus project -– their ultimate legacy.


The Honors program leverages the student's innate intellectual skills and leadership abilities to form in them a greater understanding of ethical leadership and of their personal ability for cultural transformation. As students progress through the interdisciplinary curriculum sequence, they gain deep insights into character development and ethics from classical philosophy. They explore in-depth well-established leadership principles and practice within contemporary business. Taught by senior faculty, its small, interdisciplinary seminar format encourages discussion, collaboration and critical thinking, while its experiential learning, co-curricular community engagement and social activities that are designed to build and develop deep relationships.

By the end of the Honors program, the student should have experienced leadership in practice as well as be able to:

  1. Identify great leadership qualities, which are underpinned by character and ethics based on virtue.
  2. Understand contemporary leadership principles and best practice.
  3. Apply the principles by building a sustainable on-campus entity.
  4. Sustain through a virtuous cycle of faculty and peer mentoring.
  5. Understand the Church’s main teachings on the relation between leadership, human dignity, and justice, as well as the claims made by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, et. al. about virtue and good leadership.
  6. Understand the role of grace, the sacraments, and prayer, along with the challenges of growing in virtue.


Honors students come from all majors at JPCatholic. They engage with and will have leadership positions in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including student clubs and student government. They will develop a strong sense of camaraderie with others in their cohort as they share intense intellectual experiences, study and relax together as well as participate in co-curricular activities. These close relationships with their peers are among the most important benefits of the program. The emphasis on community will take them beyond the confines of campus with involvement in a wide range of external service and engagement programs.

Their legacy project, which the student is required to build within LHP, may be almost anything that provides service to the campus, local or even the global community. Ideally, the project has the potential to be sustainable and to last long after the student graduates. Examples include any type of student outreach to a community in need-local or beyond; households to support on-campus student human growth; mission trips; evangelization; students clubs; journals and whatever the student can imagine that meets a compelling need.


The LHP classes are small, thematic seminars with an emphasis on active discussion. They are virtue-centered and aim at establishing interdisciplinary connections. The program seeks to form well-rounded students, both personally and professionally.

The program spans two academic years [18-months] and offers 6-units of academic credit (Pass/Fail). Graduates earn a Leadership Honors Program certificate, which will be awarded at their graduation along with their undergraduate degree. During their last two-quarters, they will mentor students in the next LHP cohort.

The cohort will meet once per week during the quarter -- the day of the week will vary from quarter to quarter. Students must attend all class meetings.

  • 10am: Lecture - Leadership Principles
  • 11am: – Mass [Require for LHP students]
  • 11:45am: Discussion – Principles, Practice, Mentorship
  • 12:30pm: End

Core faculty are:

  • Derry Connolly PhD, Professor of Business
  • Jerry Jackson PhD, Professor of Business
  • Shalina Stilley PhD, Professor of Philosophy


Students will NOT be required to pay extra tuition for each 1-unit LHP class. Rather in the student’s 3rd and 6th quarter, the LHP class will be considered their 5th class. Exceptions will be considered by the Registrar and Finance Offices.


In the Leadership Honors Program Application you will detail:

  1. your leadership abilities, aspirations & the benefits you will bring to the program cohort
  2. your learning objectives, and
  3. your legacy project aspirations.

Submitting your application confirms your commitment to:

  1. completing the 18-month program;
  2. maintaining a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  3. completing a significant legacy project.

Students who have not taken the 'Entrepreneurial Thinking' class with Dr. Connolly must request a letter of nomination describing their academic ability and leadership potential from any JPCatholic faculty member or senior administrator. Have the nomination letter emailed on your behalf to Dr Connolly ASAP.