Religious Studies Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

Father David Murphy Carmelite Scholarship in Theology

This scholarship honors Father David J. Murphy, O.Carm., who taught with distinction in the Religious Studies Department from 1976 to 1988.  Father Murphy's family, friends, and the Carmelite Order established the scholarship for outstanding Religious Studies majors as a way of advancing the study of theology by women.

David J. Murphy Carmelite Scholars 2010-2011

Elizabeth A. Bajema '11, Rebecca Marie Jones '12

Murphy Scholars

Mary Elizabeth Lorenz
Molly Marie Kahn 
Molly Marie Kahn
Melissa Ann McClure
Alissa Anne Blair
Heidi M. Wilberschied
Allie Jane Higgins
Heidi M. Wilberschied
Romona C. Parks 
Angela Lynn Johnston
Mary Beth Swygart
Sinnamon Rose Wolfe
Molly T. Burns
Michelle Fitzgerald
Angela Johnson
Allison Beyer
Kimberly Abeel
Kimberly Abeel
Sarah J. King


Sarah J. King
Allie M. Greene

Allie M. Greene
Mary K. Gross

Elizabeth A. Bajema   
Rebecca M. Jones

Francesca Gifford
Tyler Hernandez  
Rebecca M. Jones

Francesca Gifford
Lucy Macfarlane
Sophia Schrage 

Samantha Grady
Sophia Schrage 

Samantha Grady
Miriam Nohemí Arizpe Paredes


Application Information

  • It is an honor reserved to outstanding Saint Mary's students who have declared a major in Religious Studies and who show exceptional academic ability and promise for future achievement.
  • The scholarship awards up to $6500 annually to deserving students in their junior and senior years.
  • The selection of students for the scholarship is confined to those who demonstrate financial need, are Religious Studies Majors, who have shown strong academic performance and have been nominated by RLST faculty. Interested Religious Studies majors or intended majors can contact the Chair of Religious Studies or the Office of Financial Aid for further information. The nomination/application process is completed by March 1.

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Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society


Theta Alpha Kappa is the National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Founded in 1976, Theta Alpha Kappa has more than 115 chapters nationwide, and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. The three Greek letters that identify the Society are Theta, the first letter of the Greek word Theos (God); Alpha, the first letter of the Greek word Anthropos (Human Being); and Kappa, the first letter of the Greek word Koinonia (Community). God, Humankind, and Community--these constitute the three areas of primary concern to students of Religious Studies and Theology.

In the society's symbol, the Theta (for Theos) represents both the divine presence and the orb of the world, which it both circumscribes and penetrates. The Alpha (for anthropos) represents aspiring humanity, which draws on its roots in community (represented by Kappa, for koinonia) and on the divine in reaching outward toward the horizon in search of fulfillment.

The Saint Mary's chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa has been designated Alpha Gamma Chi (AGQ). The Chair of the Department is the Chapter Representative. The goals of Theta Alpha Kappa are these:

  • to further the study of Religion and Theology at the graduate and undergraduate levels
  • to encourage excellence in research, learning, teaching and publication
  • to foster the exchange of ideas among scholars
  • to sponsor activities that bring students, teachers, and writers of Religious Studies and Theology together both intellectually and socially

The Society publishes The Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa, which features articles authored by both professors and students.

Membership in Theta Alpha Kappa

The requirements for student membership into the AGQ chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa are as follows:

  • completion of a minimum of 3 semesters at Saint Mary's
  • completion of at least 12 credits (4 courses) in Religious Studies
  • at least a B+ average in Religious Studies classes and a B average overall
  • being in good standing as a Religious Studies major
  • ranking in the upper 35% of the student's own class

New members pay a $25 initiation fee. Continuing members pay $20 annual dues to the National Society to maintain their active membership and receive a subscription to the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa.

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The Helen M. Carroll Award

The Helen M. Carroll Award will be presented at the annual Saint Mary's College Honors Convocation to that Religious Studies major or minor who has demonstrated:

  • a high level of theological scholarship, particularly in upper-level Religious Studies courses
  • qualities of leadership within the department

The recipient of the award will be chosen by the Religious Studies faculty.

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