Merrimack College – James W. O’Brien Foundation

Scholarship Name: Merrimack College – James W. O’Brien Foundation

Status: CLOSED

Posted Date: August 30, 2019

Due Date: November 15, 2019

One or more Lynn English seniors will receive this scholarship.

There is no application for this scholarship. To be considered for the O’Brien Scholars Program, students must complete the Common Application by the early action admissions deadline of November 15.

Since 1980, the O’Brien Foundation has awarded more than $3,000,000 to Lynn English students.


  • Eligible candidates will be identified by the Admissions Office and the selection process will be coordinated by the Office of Enrollment Management in conjunction with the O’Brien Foundation
  • Oversight and program management by Merrimack’s Division of Mission and Student Affairs
  • Each O’Brien Scholar receives a $20,000 scholarship from the O’Brien Foundation and this is matched 1:1 by Merrimack
  • Recruiting for O’Brien Scholars will focus on regional high schools:
  • New programming requirements and benchmarks for O’Brien Scholars
  • O’Brien Trustees will have more opportunities to engage with the O’Brien Scholars
  • All O’Brien scholars that meet requirements will graduate with distinction

Student Experience and Requirements

The O’Brien Scholars Program will embed social justice and civic engagement into the educational experience of our O’Brien Scholars while allowing them to serve underprivileged communities on a local and global scale. Students will satisfy their scholarship requirements by following the annual schedule:

Freshman Year:

O’Brien Scholars will be expected to engage in direct service to the community of Lawrence, MA through working at Hands to Help for a total of 130 hours per semester with a minimum of 8 hours per week.

Sophomore Year:

O’Brien Scholars will be expected to work at Hands to Help for a total of 100 hours per semester with a minimum of 6 hours per week. In addition to serving at Hands to Help, O’Brien Scholars will engage in an Alternative Spring, Winter, or Summer Break Service program in order to broaden the scope of their awareness of social justice issues in the world.

Junior Year:

O’Brien Scholars will take on a leadership role at Hands to Help and act as a mentor for the Year One and Two cohorts of students. Year Three Scholars will be expected to work at Hands to Help for a total of 100 hours per semester with a minimum of 6 hours per week. (Exceptions will be made for students participating in study abroad and co-op programs.)

During Junior year, O’Brien Scholars will also do one of the following:

– Lead a Service Immersion Experience

– Participate in an International Service Experience

– Participate in the work of an agency dedicated to social change locally

Senior Year:

O’Brien Scholars will fulfill a supervisory role at Hands to Help and be expected to work for a total of 75 hours per semester with a minimum of 4 hours per week. O’Brien Scholars will either develop a capstone project directed at real life advocacy for social change or participate in a yearlong advocacy project with a local non-profit. This project would invite them to integrate their knowledge gained through their Academic Major with their understanding of social justice.

Annuallyall Scholars will:

Write a report to the O’Brien Foundation describing:

– Their appreciation to the O’Brien Foundation

– A summary of their contribution to the community

– What they have learned as a result of this experience

– How this program will impact their future

Selection Criteria and Application Process

Applicants will be required to:

  • Submit the Common Application and all required credentials
  • Submit the FAFSA
  • Recipients will be selected by a committee including representatives from Merrimack College and the O’Brien Foundation
  • Recipients will be notified as part of the Regular Decision release process

Selection Criteria:

  • Strong academic performance and intellectual ability
  • Distinction in leadership activities in high school and community engagement
  • Strength of vision for how personal goals can be fulfilled at Merrimack with the support of the O’Brien Scholarship Program

Hands to Help

Hands to Help, a community resource center based out of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish’s frairy, joins in an effort to assist and empower the underserved members of the Merrimack Valley community. Hands to Help will include a drop-in center that will provide financial coaching, job search assistance, advising on the college application process, and resources for adjusting to life in Massachusetts. In addition, it will act as an information referral site to other local non-profits and function as a place where people can make use of resources, such as public computers. Hands to Help’s hope is to adequately support the people of Lawrence, as well as Merrimack students, to truly become an agent for change within the city. Merrimack College deeply values service and this resource center is a firmer commitment to its Augustinian neighbor in need.