Message from the dean and executive director
Dear Friends of Arrupe College,
Arrupe enrolled its first class of 159 students in August 2015—students like a young woman I will call Emily. Emily is personality plus—charismatic, she makes friends easily. Beneath her exuberance, however, Emily was dealing with a lot during her first year with us. She lived with her grandfather, who was ailing. He had been her anchor, and now as his caregiver, she became his rock. Emily’s grandfather died during the spring semester of her freshman year. Family tensions ensued, leaving Emily experiencing housing insecurity. One of our most valued partners at Arrupe College is Mercy Home, a venerable Chicago institution that provides housing to homeless youth. Emily moved to Mercy Home not long after she lost her grandfather.
Emily’s challenges could have potentially derailed her studies with us. Nevertheless, Emily persevered. She communicated regularly with her advisor at Arrupe, with our faculty, with our staff, with me. She took advantage of the supports Arrupe provides—peer tutors, social workers, and our breakfast and lunch program. She plowed through her coursework and met with Julie Garcia, Arrupe’s director of college placement, and when Emily graduated on time, with her classmates, in August 2017, she earned her associate’s degree debt free and had been accepted at a state university in Illinois to continue for her bachelor’s degree.
Emily has kept in touch with us at Arrupe since her graduation. She attended our alumni reunions and was in communication with Patrick Durgin, our graduate support coordinator, some classmates, and members of our faculty. And, she continued her academic work toward her BA.
Nationally, 34% of students who complete their associate’s degrees earn their bachelor’s degrees at the end of six years. This spring, 47% of our first class of graduates will earn their bachelor’s degree in four years—two years after they received their associate’s at our first commencement, two years ahead of the national average.
Emily is among the 47%. She and I exchanged voicemails in the days leading to her graduation at her university. We plan to celebrate her achievements this summer. “When we get together,” Emily said in her message to me, “I want to talk to you about going for my master’s at Loyola.” That’s Emily—exceeding expectations, making progress, staying focused. And that’s Arrupe College, a community of extraordinary young people like Emily, and faculty and staff who accompany them during their first postsecondary educational experiences, and beyond.
Thank you for being part of our community, and thank you for supporting students and graduates like Emily.
Steve Katsouros, SJ
Dean and Executive Director
Loyola University Chicago