Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program

Morrissy Scholars are intellectually curious honor students, active learners and global citizens.

Named in honor of Elizabeth Morrissy, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of history, political science and economics at Notre Dame for 40 years, the Honors Program provides opportunities for students to experience the kind of excitement in learning that Dr. Morrissy inspired.

The program offers both general education and interdisciplinary seminars. It supports learning through experience with internships, service learning, directed research and honors conference presentations.

Morrissy Scholars embrace many exclusive opportunities—from studying and gathering in the charming, cozy Otenasek House to visiting Aoyama Gakuin Junior College, our sister college in Tokyo.

The Otenasek House

The Otenasek House of the Morrissy Honors Program provides welcoming study areas, a seminar room for classes as well as individual and group activities, and a comfortable lounge where students interact with other honors students and faculty.

Tour the Otenasek House

Activities and Events

  • Scholarship opportunities for two-week study tours abroad
  • Director’s Night Out: dinner and activity for incoming students with the Honors Program director
  • Participation in national, regional and Maryland honors conferences. The Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program has hosted the Maryland Collegiate Honors Conference, and Morrissy Scholars have participated in honors conferences in New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; St. Louis, MO; Washington, D.C.; Providence, RI; Portland, ME; and Seattle, WA
  • Cultural dinners and other social activities in the Otenasek House
  • Cultural outings in Baltimore including Center Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Opera and The Walters Art Museum
  • Short-term exchange program with Aoyama Gakuin Women's College in Tokyo

Program Benefits

  1. Participants receive Notre Dame’s largest and most prestigious merit scholarships.
  2. Honors courses are designated on student transcripts.
  3. “Morrissy Scholar” is noted on transcripts and at Commencement (for those who complete the required 18 credits of honors courses).
  4. Scholars are recognized publicly at Notre Dame’s annual fall Honors Convocation.
  5. Leadership roles are available through the Morrissy Honors Student Executive Board. Student officers in this board are elected annually and work closely with the Morrissy director to plan activities and events.
  6. Students may have opportunities to present outstanding research papers and posters at the spring research symposium at Notre Dame and at state, regional and national honors conferences.
  7. Exclusive off-campus activities enrich students’ Notre Dame honors education.
  8. Guidance for first-year students through the Morrissy Mentorship Program.
Student Achievements

1. The Morrissy Honors Program has won the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC) Portz award for the past three years. This award is given to an outstanding student in a four-year honors program. Winners include Micah Castelo ’18 (2017), Lauren Romagnano ‘17 and Samantha Dameron ’15.

2. Morrissy student Micah Castelo ‘18 is the first to receive the inaugural Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC) Student of the Year Award from a four-year institution.

3. Lillian Doyle ‘17 received the 2017 MCHC Conference Outstanding Student Abstract for Presentation award.

4. Several Morrissy students have won awards at Nancy Kreiter Student Research Day, Notre Dame’s annual research symposium. Past recipients for grand prize presentations include Marion Smedberg ‘21 (Art Exhibit and Performance) and Micah Castelo ‘18 (Literary Research). Past poster presentation winners include Chinwendu Nwokeabia ‘19 (Social Science) and Christa Riffle ‘17 (Nursing). Past paper presentation winners include: Katherine Martinez ‘20 (Women as Monsters) Madeline Mask ‘17 (Gender Perspectives), Alexandra Filsinger ‘17 (Art & Literature), and Rebecca Corun ‘17 (Values and Ethics).

5. Morrissy students have also received the Davis Projects for Peace grant, a $10,000 grant that allows students to design and work on a grassroots project to initiate peace in the community of their choosing. In 2017, Micah Castelo ‘18 and Lorelie Soriano ’19 established a public library in the Caibiran, Biliran, Philippines. In 2016, Marguerite Linz ‘16 worked with SSNDs and renovated a community center in Canto Grande, Lima, Peru. In 2015, Amal Malik ‘15 provided clean drinking water and spread awareness about the importance of handwashing in Lahore, Pakistan.

6. Morrissy scholars continually receive departmental awards at Honors Convocation and Notre Dame Day. Also, many Morrissy students are members of honors societies including Sigma Tau Delta (English); Tri Beta (Biology); Kappa Mu Epsilon (Mathematics); and Delta Epsilon Sigma.

Morrissy Requirements
  • Students must maintain a 3.3 overall average and a B average in honors courses.
  • Honors courses cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis.
  • Students must register for at least one honors course per year.
  • Scholars must take six honors courses (18 credits) to complete the program.
  • The director reviews the records of Morrissy scholars at the end of each spring semester.
  • Those who are enrolled in “3/2” programs with other institutions must complete a minimum of 15 honors credits.
  • Three credits of honors work may be taken as an independent study with the approval of the faculty member concerned and the Morrissy director.
  • A semester or year of study abroad satisfies 3 credits (one course) of honors work.
  • Morrissy scholars are expected to participate in at least six Morrissy-sponsored events annually.
Past Honors Courses

Past courses include: 

  • HIS-402 Women, War and Peace
  • IDS-373 Cosmos and Creation: Religion and Science
  • BIO-239 Genetics; ENG 440 Women and/as Monsters in Literature and Culture
  • PSY-371 Women and her Symbols
  • SOC-271 Psychology and Sociology of Gender Roles

Become a Morrissy Scholar


Current and prospective Notre Dame of Maryland University students may apply to the Morrissy Honors Program by completing the online form.

Apply Now

A faculty committee reviews the records of first-year students and transfer students to prepare a cohort of potential scholars.


Each semester, the director of the Morrissy Program seeks recommendations from the faculty. The director also asks students to apply through self-nomination.

Ordinarily, the honors cohort comprises 15 percent to 20 percent of each class.

Honors Councils

The University maintains membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), the Northeast Regional Honors Conference (NE-NCHC) and the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC).

Contact Us

Evelyn Spratt
Program Director