S.J. Dilenschneider Graduate Student Award

Nominations Due

2022 Award Nominations will be opened in the coming months.

Description of the Award

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 by a priest of the Order of the Holy Cross, Fr. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., and seven Holy Cross Brothers. The Constitutions of Holy Cross, the document that guides the Holy Cross order and informs Notre Dame’s mission states, “There are networks of privilege, prejudice and power so commonplace that often neither oppressors nor victims are aware of them. We must be aware and also understanding by reason of fellowship with the impoverished and by reason of patient learning. For the kingdom to come in this world, disciples must have the competence to see and the courage to act.”

We should never lose sight of the moment to see, to study, understand, learn from, and act courageously on things we can do individually and collectively to make the world a better and more just place for everyone – because that is what our mission at Notre Dame calls on us to do.

To elevate this vision, the annual S.J. Dilenschneider Award at the University of Notre Dame is being established in honor of Sigmund John Dilenschneider. The award is designed to recognize and honor distinctive and exceptional achievements by one graduate student in the Notre Dame community who has shown a commitment to advancing the University’s mission and the compassion, perseverance, and courage to tackle complex issues in our society through excellence in his or her research and scholarship, teaching, and service.

S.J. Dilenschneider embraced this thinking. He enjoyed a storied career in business and journalism. He started his career in Rockville, Connecticut, moved to Philadelphia, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in 1928, and worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He then moved to New York and joined the Scripps-Howard flagship staff, overseeing dozens of media properties.  He later joined the Cleveland Press and the Columbus Citizen in Ohio. He oversaw the merger of the Citizen and the Ohio State Journal in 1959 into the Citizen-Journal.   In the words of one who chronicled Mr. Dilenschneider, he was a good citizen who loved his fellow man, his family and his newspaper.  (At this writing 18 members of the Dilenschneider family have attended or are attending Notre Dame.) 

See a list of past S.J. Dilenschneider Award winners

Eligibility Criteria

The Dilenschneider Award recognizes excellence as a graduate student in any one or a number of areas: research and publications, fellowships or other awards, teaching, mentoring, with a particular focus on the long-term impact as a force for good in the world. The graduate student may be from the College of Arts and Letters, Engineering, Science, the Mendoza College of Business, the Keough School, the Law School, or the School of Architecture.  Both the intellectual merits and the broader impacts of the work will be evaluated in selecting the winner for this award.

Nomination Procedure

Each department may nominate one student for the award.

The nomination packet should include the following information:

  • Letter of nomination from either the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, the student’s adviser or another faculty mentor, a staff member, or a student colleague. The letter should provide context for the intellectual merits and broader impacts of the student’s work that articulates why it is deserving of this award.
    Note: One letter is required. A second letter is optional.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae
  • The nominee’s e-mail address and phone number
  • Statement from nominee. No more than two pages in length; the nominee should discuss the significance of her/his work and the impact it has and will have, including a discussion of both intellectual merits and broader impacts. The statement should not replicate the CV; rather, it should interpret it by contextualizing specific aspects of work in a larger framework. This may be accompanied by supplemental materials as necessary to make the case.


Nominations should be submitted via the online nomination site.