Ignatian Leaders Scholarship

The Scholarship 

This highly-competitive scholarship awards $24,000 ($6,000 annually over four continuous years) to 20 outstanding incoming first-year students. The award is offered over and above any other grant or scholarship that the University provides. 

Purpose of the Scholarship 

The Ignatian Leaders Scholarship was established to recognize and honor 20 incoming first year students whose commitment to academic excellence, leadership potential, and community service has been made evident in their high school and pre-collegiate involvement. 

The Ignatian Leaders Scholarship takes its name from Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Ignatius was born in 1491 in Azpeitia, a town in northern Spain.  From early youth, he fashioned himself a romantic courtier and soldier, but an injury suffered in the battle of Pamplona in 1521 changed his life forever.  Recuperating from his injuries, Ignatius underwent a religious conversion and pledged himself to the service of God.  Following years of preparation and education, Ignatius was ordained a Catholic priest.  With the blessing of Pope Paul III, he and a group of men formed the Society of Jesus (“the Jesuits”) in 1540.  Ignatius’s vision, practical guidance, and charisma gained the Jesuits many followers, and it is in recognition of his extraordinary vision and leadership that this scholarship is so named.  St. Ignatius of Loyola died in 1556.  Gonzaga University proudly celebrates its heritage as one of the 28 Jesuit universities in the United States.

The Competition

The Ignatian Leaders Scholarship is a competitive scholarship: that is, out of the total number of eligible, complete applications submitted by February 1, 2018, 40 finalists will be invited to Gonzaga to participate in a two-day (overnight) visit.  The ILS Competition Weekend will take place on March 17-18, 2018.  Invitees must participate in the ILS Competition Weekend to be eligible for further consideration.  Applicants invited to the competition weekend will be notified of the ILS Committee's decision in mid-February, and additional information regarding the Competition Weekend will be provided to finalists at the time of notification.

Invited finalists will participate in activities hosted on campus and at Gonzaga’s Bozarth Retreat Center for the weekend. All meals, materials, and lodging (including separate housing for men and women) will be provided by the University.  However, invited participants are expected to travel to and from the Competition Weekend at their own expense.  A limited number of need-based travel stipends are available to those finalists who indicate attending the weekend is cost-prohibitive.

Criteria for Eligibility 

To qualify for the Ignatian Leaders Scholarship Competition, the applicant must:

  • Have a completed Admission Application on file at the University as of February 1, 2018.  Students may apply for the ILS before receiving their GU letter of acceptance.
  • Have a cumulative unweighted high school GPA of at least 3.5 at the completion of the fall term of his or her senior (high school) year.
  • Submit a completed Ignatian Leaders Scholarship application.  The ILS application must be submitted electronically or post-marked no later than February 1, 2018.
  • Demonstrate through their application materials a strong aptitude for and commitment to pursuing leadership opportunities, community service, and academic achievement in collegiate life.  The committee will consider each applicant’s activity résumé, essay, and letters of recommendation (from the application for admission) to assess these traits.  

Counselor Nomination

High school counselors wishing to nominate a student for the Ignatian Leaders Scholarship (ILS) should email the Scholarship committee at ILScholarship@gonzaga.edu. Please include the student's name and e-mail address in the e-mail. Counselors do not need to provide an explanation or basis for their decision to nominate a student. An application will be e-mailed directly to the nominated student. To provide students with adequate time to complete the ILS application, counselors are encouraged to submit their nominations before January 25, 2018


Students who feel they meet the above criteria and wish to nominate themselves for the Ignatian Leaders Scholarship should e-mail Michael Sass, ILS Director, at sass@gonzaga.edu to request an application. Self-nominees should provide a brief explanation of their previous experiences with leadership, community service, and academic accomplishment in their e-mail message. In order to have adequate time for the completion of the ILS application, students are encouraged to submit their self-nominations before January 25, 2018