Fellows Program Description

The Colin MacLaurin Fellows Program offers University of Minnesota undergraduates and grad/professional students one of the most formative programs of faith-and-life integration available to students attending any public university. It combines rich community and conversation, Christian theological formation, and the historic resources of the Christian tradition, helping students to see their studies and callings in the light of the gospel.

The Colin MacLaurin Fellows Program includes:

  • Christian education and mentoring
  • Regular meals and rich community
  • A library of classic Christian books
  • Academic scholarships and research/mentoring awards
  • An opportunity for residential community
  • Other significant benefits

1. Christian Education and Mentoring

As a fellow, you’ll be part of a small cohort of no more than 12 fellows who meet every other week during the academic year for a guided dinner discussion. These dinners are more like conversations with good friends on topics that matter than they are like formal classes. Over a meal, you’ll discuss with experienced Anselm House staff tutors carefully selected readings designed to help you understand what it means to live well in all of your various callings in life. Our discussions and readings aim to provide a grounding in the best of what the Christian tradition—the Bible, the early church fathers, and more recent Christian writers–says about what it means to bring our whole lives into God’s story for the world.

The cohorts are designed to build upon one another, so that you can continue in subsequent cohorts in future years. Fellows who complete all three cohorts of the program will be awarded a Certificate in Christian Studies, formally recognizing their training in the Christian tradition and exploration of Christian vocation. Each fellow will enter one of these cohorts based on their stage in academic career, prior preparation, and interests:

  • Year 1: The Good Story: Finding Your Part in God’s Plan
    Students discover how their purpose in life is found in God’s larger plan for the world. Over the year, we study selections from the Bible, as well as other Christian writers, in order to see how Scripture provides a single story of God’s redemption of the world. As we seek to understand this grand story and our part in it, we give special attention to what it means for living well now in college.

  • Year 2: The Good Life: Becoming Fully Human
    What does it mean to be fully human? In year two, we explore what the Bible and the best of the Christian tradition teach us about what it means to be made in God’s Image. The fall semester considers what it means to be human: how we’re designed for worship, love, embodiment, freedom, work, and more. The spring semester focuses on how humans live well in the world and in right relationship with God, one another, and the rest of creation.

  • Year 3: The Common Good: Christian Vocation in Public Life
    Year three is the culmination of the curriculum—year-long exploration what Christian faithfulness looks like in our twenty-first century society and how the Christian faith guides and informs our academic study and future vocations. In the fall semester, we seek to understand both the challenges and the opportunities for Christians studying at a public university and preparing to become Christian leaders in our modern society. In the spring semester, fellows present their work-in-progress Faith & Knowledge Portfolios—focused, original explorations of how the Christian story informs their particular fields of study and vocations.
  • Year 4 and Beyond:
    For students who complete all three years of Fellows curriculum while still remaining students, we offer a cohort of selected topics that continue and expand on the previous years' curriculum.

We also offer all fellows the opportunity to connect with a mentor—either a UMN Christian faculty member or a community member in their field of study—for further discussion of how faith shapes career and all of life.

2. Meals and Community

MacLaurin Fellows is a community of students who are passionate about living out their Christian faith in all of life. The fellows program is an opportunity to develop close friendships with other UMN students who are seeking to pursue their college work and future careers in light of the good news of the Christian gospel. We’re a unique kind of Christian community on campus: “merely Christian,” in that we’re centered on core commitments to the Bible and the early Christian creeds, while learning from our various Christian traditions, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox.

In addition to the cohort dinners, you’ll enjoy two all-expenses-paid retreats—one in the fall and one in the spring–that provide a context for deeper community and reflection. You’ll also have additional opportunities to gather with the entire fellows community, Anselm House staff, Christian faculty from the U of M, and local Christian professionals—and enjoy exclusive access to visiting Christian scholars.

3. Classic Christian books

In addition to books and resources for your cohort discussions, each fellow will receive a carefully curated selection of classic Christian works–a different selection for each cohort. By participating in all three cohorts, you’ll finish the program with a small library of rich, classic Christian works of literature and theology that you will return to throughout your life.

Here’s a selection of just a few of the books that you’ll receive as part of this library:

  • Athanasius, On the Incarnation
  • Augustine, Confessions
  • Dante, The Divine Comedy
  • Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
  • Dorothy Sayers, Why Work?
  • Flannery O’Connor, Complete Short Stories
  • C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce

4. Dr. Fred Smith Research/Mentorship Awards

We recognize that bringing together faith and learning in a public university is, in many respects, swimming upstream against powerful currents. That’s why in addition to the many benefits of the program, we offer annual research and mentorship awards—the Dr. Fred Smith Awards. As a fellow, you can apply for these awards to support research, mentorship, or other opportunities that advance your learning and development as a Christian student—up to $1,000 per year.

5. Residential Community: River House

Christian formation is not just about learning: it’s about life together. That’s why we’re excited to offer current fellows the possibility of Christian residential community here at UMN. In the university’s terms, River House is a Christian “living and learning community” that weaves together Christian formation, academic study, and daily life. It provides students with the opportunity to continue the Fellows experience as part of the fabric of their daily lives—through shared meals together, daily prayer as a community, everyday discussion on connecting faith and knowledge with all of life, and service to one another and the wider campus community.

Current fellows may apply to live in River House when the application window opens towards the end of the fall semester.

6. Access to Other Anselm House Resources

As a fellow, you’ll have access to many other Anselm House resources, including:

  • Participation in our other Anselm House conversations–lectures, visiting scholars, and weekly student events
  • Leadership opportunities at Anselm House
  • Membership in our growing Fellows Alumni Network
  • Access to the study center’s 3000-volume library

Our investment in our MacLaurin Fellows is significant: we estimate that it costs more than $2500 per year to support each fellow through this program. But thanks to a grant from generous donors, we’re currently able to offer our fellows program free of charge to all fellows who are admitted for the academic year.

Application Details

Fellows is open to all UMN students (undergraduate or graduate), in any field or discipline. We are also accepting applications from spouses of UMN students, provided they’re applying for the program along with their spouse. During the academic year, fellows commit to:

  • Regular (every other week) cohort dinner discussions
  • One weekend retreat together each semester

To apply, please complete our online application form.


If you have questions or want to discuss the Fellows Program further, please contact us at 612.378.1935 or hello@anselmhouse.org. You can also fill out this form, and we will reach out to you.