Attending a Catholic College

What does that mean for a prospective student?

Student outside college with cross in background

Catholic institutions like Donnelly College offer a strong foundation for growing one's faith, regardless of tradition. They provide environments that foster faith development through open dialogue and the opportunity for fellowship. Students with a faith other than Catholic, or even no faith tradition, will find a welcoming and accepting community at Donnelly.

Here you will experience a sense of community that could only be found on a small campus with staff, faculty and students who are like a family. You will hear it said on campus that Donnelly College is an institution that takes students from where they are to where they want to be. Donnelly focuses on the whole person, addressing each student's social, academic and spiritual needs.

Donnelly College as a Catholic College is dedicated "without reserve to the cause of truth1". Catholic higher education, by uniting existentially the search for truth and the certainty of already knowing the 'fount of truth', offers a unique path that delivers academic excellence and prepares students to become leaders by incorporating personal responsibility, ethical behavior, service learning and social justice into the curriculum.

1Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 4

At the heart of the Donnelly College experience is a Catholic higher education, which includes a foundational, values-based, liberal arts curriculum. Donnelly's values are:

  • Seek Truth - Donnelly seeks to inspire life-long discovery and the communication of truth by exploring the connectedness all things, studying the intersections of faith and reason, and engaging in civil dialogue with all peoples.
  • Build Community - Donnelly seeks to motivate actions and relationships that promote a just community, recognizing that every person has inherent dignity and potential, and that we serve God by serving God’s people.
  • Pursue Excellence - Donnelly seeks to challenge people to become the best version of themselves in their vocation, personal life, civic engagement and faith pursuit. Excellence requires perseverance amidst obstacles, striving beyond what is comfortable, openness to new ideas, a commitment to quality and concerted effort.

While all students are required to take at least one course in theology, you will also be exposed to so much more. Within our curriculum you will: 

  • EXPLORE a variety of academic disciplines and gain the ability to think critically and independently.

  • ASK tough questions to broaden your view of the world, learn how to talk about different subjects and analyze various situations.

  • LEARN communication and problem-solving skills – increasingly what employers say they are looking for in potential employees. 

  • DISCOVER life's greater purpose and strive to become the best version of yourself.

With a priest as the college president and a thriving campus ministry, faith is seen and felt throughout campus and in activities. But Donnelly isn’t just for Catholics. All students will be provided the tools they need to explore various ways of thinking, regardless of their own faith tradition. This diversity in religious backgrounds provides engaging conversations and opportunities to explore other traditions.

  • Campus Ministry
    • Optional Daily Mass, celebratory Masses and annual Convocation Mass
    • Sacramental reconciliation, devotions and Bible studies
    • Spiritual direction and counseling
    • Ecumenical prayer service and activities
    • R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)
    • I-Cath: An informal discussion session on Catholic belief
    • Pro-Life Club
    • Interfaith activities
    • Environmental Club
    • Service-learning opportunities 

Donnelly College is a diverse community of learners. We welcome students, faculty and staff of all religious traditions, as well as those who are not religious or who are just seeking to know more about faith. Catholicism values other faith traditions and calls all of us to sincere interfaith dialogue and cooperation. And, at Donnelly you’ll be part of the most diverse college in the Midwest, so you’ll be well prepared to engage in the world with people of all different faiths and ethnicities.

Current or prospective students with questions are encouraged to reach out to Fr. John Melnick, Vice President of Spirituality and Mission at 913-621-8727 or

See what Donnelly students have to say 

“I’m not a very religious person, but the first thing that was super impactful was a Sister opened her class with prayer. We’re in the heart of Wyandotte, and there’s just so much stuff going on, trying to pull me away from going to school. Being able to sit in a classroom feels safe. Prayer is being said. It just really makes me feel at home. One of Donnelly’s mottos is ‘become the best version of yourself’ and that is so valuable and magnificent to me. It’s just a really great platform for me to actually express myself and be the best version that I can become." Niesha K. '17

“Attending a Catholic college has been an important part of my formational experience in my studies toward the Catholic priesthood. Donnelly College is incredibly diverse religiously, economically, and ethnically. This diversity has formed an environment in which I can personally encounter others whose individual circumstances cannot be understood through a lecture in a seminary classroom. Ultimately, it has helped me grow in understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation in which Almighty God becomes one of us, suffers like us, and converts our hearts by loving us to the end, a love I must imitate as a future Catholic priest. My experience at Donnelly College has helped form in me a heart that burns of love for God and others.” Br. Martin N., '19