7th Annual William A. Solemene Scholarship Essay Contest

7th Annual William A. Solemene Scholarship Essay Contest

The William A. Solemene Charitable Foundation 

William A. Solemene was a long time Dallas advertising executive.  He was generous in his philanthropy and active in civic service and party politics.  In sponsoring this scholarship, the William A. Solemene Charitable Foundation wishes to honor the spirit of active citizenship and love of country that was such an important part of his life.  Through the generosity of the Foundation, the University of Dallas has been able to award over the past five years $175,000 in scholarships apportioned to multiple students. 

Once again, the Solemene Charitable Foundation has contributed $25,000 to be apportioned among the authors of the top two or three essays. Submission requirements and the topic and prompt for the essay are listed below.


Deadline for submission is April 15, 2024 at 11:59 pm CDT. Scholarships will be awarded for the 2024/25 year.


  1. Applicant must be a current University of Dallas undergraduate with at least 15 credit hours but not more than 110 credit hours earned at UD.
  2. Applicant must be a Liberal Arts Major, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in any major.
  3. Applicant must have submitted a 2024/2025 FAFSA (or currently be in process of submitting).


  1. 800-1,500 word essay - see topic below.  Line spacing for the essay should be at 1 1/2 lines.  Do not include personal identification in the essay; only include your UD student ID number at the top of your essay.  Your essay must be uploaded within the application.
  2. One letter of recommendation from a University of Dallas professor.  This letter may be uploaded with your application or emailed (either by the applicant or directly from the professor) to finaid@udallas.eduIf the letter is emailed, the subject line of the email must be: Solemene Scholarship, ID (insert the applicant's UD ID number).

Topic of the William A. Solemene Foundation Scholarship Essay

On the Nature of Dialogue: An Essay


Aristotle says that we are the political animal insofar as we have the gift of speech, which allows us to share beliefs about the good.

In the present civic context in which increasingly strident and polarized speech is the norm rather than the exception, how can liberal learning cultivate the virtues and dispositions necessary for civil discourse, that is, discourse befitting a fellow citizen?

Drawing from the texts and disciplines that constitute the University of Dallas core curriculum, and drawing also from your own experience of conversation with interlocutors over the year, discuss what is necessary to bring about civil discourse.

Among the many possible focal points would be the virtues of intellectual charity and justice:

Have recent technologies exacerbated civic strife? If so, why, and how might UD’s curriculum constitute at least in part an antidote? 

In light of the UD curriculum, what are important shared goods that unite us as a polity despite our many principled differences? How can conversation continually refer to what unites us even as it enables working through that which does not?

How is the question of religion opened up as something that belongs to public discourse?

From within the context of a person’s life – from youth through the later stages of life – discuss the possibility of civil discourse as well as some of its more significant avenues. 

Consider particular qualities or virtues that one might build upon in imagining such a conversation. For instance, consider some of the following aspects: virtues of justice and intellectual charity, solidarity including patriotism, friendship, authority, and the like. 

In composing your essay feel free to draw on your personal experience. As you look forward to the future are there any individuals you might hope to emulate during the course of your own future conversations? 

Once you have your essay and letter of recommendation from a UD professor ready, submit your application.