Loyola University Chicago

Arrupe College


From refugee to citizen of the world

Sanay Ma

By Carla Beecher

When recent Arrupe College graduate Sanay Ma (AA ’18) left her native Burma with her parents in 2007 through a U.N.-sponsored refugee resettlement program, she was fleeing from ethnic persecution and began a new life.

She and her parents relocated to Rogers Park when Sanay was 10. After graduating from Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart in Wicker Park, she reached out to her former high school counselor, Julie Garcia, who was now working as Arrupe College’s placement director. Garcia encouraged Sanay to apply.

“Sanay is extremely bright,” said Julie. “In high school, I always knew that she had incredible academic potential, so I was happy she came to Arrupe. She flourished here and will, without a doubt, go on to do great things.”

Sanay credits Arrupe for giving her a second chance at a better future. “I am forever grateful, because now I am at Loyola,” Sanay said in the dorm room she shares with friend and fellow Arrupe graduate Neerida Akakpo (AA ’18). Both are now juniors at Loyola University Chicago.

Inspired by the challenges she has faced on the unique path that led her halfway around the world in pursuit of education, she plans to go to law school. “My goal is to work for the FBI after I get my law degree,” Sanay said. “I want to make positive changes in people’s lives and think I could do that through the criminal justice system.”

Sanay, who gained U.S. citizenship in 2017, attended Arrupe with scholarship support. She currently helps local children with their homework through the Burmese Ministry Program at St. Paul’s by the Lake in Rogers Park, and she used to tutor for the Asian Human Services organization on the city’s Northwest Side during her time at Arrupe. She has volunteered and been paid to translate English for the Burmese community as well at the Cook County Juvenile Courthouse, and she served as vice president of scholarships for Beta Phi Pi, the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Arrupe. In addition to belonging to Loyola’s Pre-Law Society and its Criminal Justice Student Organization, she is a member of the FBI Chicago City Citizens Academy for Students.

Budgeting her time is a top priority since she’s enrolled in seven courses this semester and interning for both the Cook County Sheriff’s legal department—where she conducts legal research and is getting a first-hand look at the U.S. court system by attending hearings—and for the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic School, where she performs administrative duties.

“Arrupe taught me the awareness of world issues,” said Sanay. “I plan to use my education to contribute and participate in the social justice issues I believe in.”

“Sanay exemplifies resilience,” said Fr. Steve Katsouros, S.J., Arrupe College’s founding dean and executive director. She has navigated much more than most young adults—and the result of that navigation is an outstanding young woman who embraces challenges and succeeds.”

Arrupe Hosts Inaugural Alumni Reunion


On Monday, January 8, 2018 Arrupe College hosted its inaugural alumni reunion in Wintrust Commons at Arrupe. Over forty alumni returned to East Pearson Street to reconnect and share updates with classmates, faculty and staff over dinner. 

Seventy-three graduates from Arrupe’s inaugural class have transferred to four-year colleges and universities in the Midwest and beyond, and several are working at local businesses, including Wintrust Bank and the City of Chicago.  Some graduates who are currently working plan on continuing to work full time and starting part-time bachelor’s degree programs.

Arrupe’s Graduate Support Coordinator, Patrick Durgin, organized the event and remarked, “By having these kinds of events we hope to continue to keep the lines of communication with these alums open, share in their successes and support them in their struggles. From what I heard from alums and what faculty and staff members told me about their conversations with students, this class has been doing great in their first semester away. I'd hope that the success of this class and this event inspires more grads to come back to these events and continues to grow the Arrupe alumni network in the coming years.”

Arrupe graduate Jacky Cruz (A.A. ’17) is now enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She remarked, “I really enjoyed coming back together as a family with my Arrupe graduating class. It was great to see old friends again. I most enjoyed being able to recap some of my experiences at UW-Madison. I think the video interviews were a great idea. The video interviews allowed me and my friends to express our feelings about moving away, especially out of state. I also think they served a good purpose to let other future students see that we struggled here and there, but that anything is possible if you really put your heart into it.”

Edquitta Alexander (A.A. ’17) also attended the reunion and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI. She greatly appreciated the opportunity to return to Arrupe, explaining, “I enjoyed that each professor was excited to see me and took the time out to listen to me about my experiences at Silver Lake. The environment felt the same from when I last walked through the doors of Arrupe the day before graduation. I truly miss everyone and I came back because I miss the feeling of being home.”

Mr. Durgin is already working on plans for a 2018 summer reunion for Arrupe alumni to continue to build on the success of this event. 

Grant Thornton Launches Apprenticeship Program for Arrupe College Students


During the summer of 2016, Vincent Tomkinson, Managing Partner of the Midwest Region for Grant Thornton, LLP, and Quinlan School of Business Dean Kevin Stevens began speaking about creating an apprenticeship program for Arrupe College business students interested in pursuing a career in accounting and a B.B.A. from the Quinlan School of Business. The goal of the program would be to provide students with the training, mentorship and experience necessary for them to join Grant Thornton full-time after graduating from both Arrupe College and the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.

Stevens connected Tomkinson with members of the Arrupe College and Quinlan School of Business teams, who in turn began meeting with Tony Fuller, Director, Marie Tashjian, University Recruiting Manager and Lindsey Bezouska, University Recruiting Associate, at Grant Thornton regarding potential program structure. 

Fuller, Tashjian and their team designed a five year-program in which interested students are exposed to Grant Thornton and the accounting profession in year one. In March 2017, they welcomed a group of nine Arrupe students to Grant Thornton to learn more about the firm and the program.  Students took a tour, participated in team-building activities and met employees from various parts of the firm to learn more about their careers and what they do at the firm.  

“By providing access to professional services careers, Grant Thornton is helping extend Arrupe’s mission, and in turn we are benefiting from the work and experiences the Arrupe students bring to our firm,” said Tomkinson. “Ultimately, we hope to create a replicable model that can be used by other firms. We’re very proud to have started this program, and to welcome these students to the Grant Thornton team.” Students formally applied to the program in the spring, which included an application and formal interviews.  Three students were selected and started working twenty hours per week, learning more about the various functions of the firm and doing a mix of internal and external client work.

In years three and four, students will continue to work twenty hours per week as audit and tax interns. In year five, they will study for the CPA exam and continue working part-time at the firm in hopes of securing a full-time position with the firm in year six.

One Arrupe sophomore and two Arrupe alums currently attending the Quinlan School of Business as juniors are currently working at Grant Thornton in the apprenticeship program.  Moving forward, the goals is for all participants to begin at Grant Thornton during year two at Arrupe. 

Arrupe sophomore, Judith Dominguez-Ramirez, commented, “Being at GT has been a great pleasure. The staff is very supportive and helpful. I am enjoying learning about different aspects of the firm’s work and appreciate the ability to network.” 

Arrupe Faculty and Staff Attend Tenth Annual Black Male Summit


Shannon Gore, Ph.D. 

On Friday, September 29th through Saturday, September 30th, Arrupe College faculty members Dr. Otis Eliot Pope and Dr. Shannon Gore, along with Career Coordinator Farrah Ellison-Moore, attended the tenth annual Black Male Summit hosted by the University of Akron. The conference focused on fostering the recruitment and retention of African American men in higher education. Another goal of the summit was promoting and celebrating black male leadership. Presenters included actor Hill Harper and scholar Terrell Strayhorn, Ph.D.

Arrupe faculty and staff hope to apply information obtained at the conference when working with the college’s Black Men for Success (BMS), an inter-generational mentoring group started in the summer of 2017. BMS cultivates academic and personal excellence amongst African American males at Arrupe College. BMS chair, Dr. Otis Eliot Pope, said the following about helping to lead this group, “I am honored and privileged to build the future leaders of tomorrow at Arrupe.”

Wintrust Bank Leads the Way with Summer Employment Opportunity for Arrupe Students


During the spring semester, Arrupe College board chair and president and CEO of Wintrust Bank, Bill Lynch, reached out to Arrupe dean and executive director, Steve Katsouros, S.J., about having Arrupe students work at Wintrust Bank for the summer.  Lynch wanted students to have the opportunity to learn more about the banking industry while also earning money for school and personal expenses. 

Wintrust Bank was established in 1994 as North Shore Community Bank. It has 24 locations in the Chicago area and continues to grow and open branches.  The bank was recently recognized as number one in customer satisfaction in the Midwest region by the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study and is the largest charter bank under the fifteen banks that operate under Wintrust Financial Corporation.

After going through the application and interview process sophomore Jonathan Bello and freshman Justin Sanger were hired to work at the bank.  Jonathan graduates from Arrupe College on August 12, 2017 and will continue his studies this fall at Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business. He remarked, “As a business major I sought to gain experience related to my field of study. I could not have imagined a better place to begin my journey in the business world than at Wintrust Bank in downtown Chicago. The bank itself looks beautiful both inside and out, with stunning architectural designs. Admittedly, the pay is really good too.” 

Sangster, who also serves as an Arrupe College student ambassador for the Admissions Office, works sixteen hours per week at Wintrust and hopes to continue working throughout the school year.

Lynch remarked, “We are thrilled to have Justin and Jonathan join us. We want them to succeed and become well-rounded individuals, and help them see and understand first-hand how companies work. Internships are a proven way to gain experience, knowledge and confidence, and it is a great opportunity to build a professional network.  It’s vital that students gain the real-world experience that all employers look for.”

Are you interested in providing employment for Arrupe College students?  Please contact Arrupe College Career Coordinator Farrah Ellison-Moore at Felliso@luc.edu.

Inaugural Arrupe College Art Exhibition


On June 15, 2017 Arrupe College hosted its inaugural Art Exhibition, which featured twenty-nine pieces of artwork that were created by Arrupe College students. The exhibit included many different types of artwork using various materials, such as photographs, sculptures, mixed media, and acrylic on canvas, to name just a few. Fine Arts Lecturer Susannah Strang organized the event along with Arrupe Career Coordinator Farrah Elllison-Moore.  Arrupe students Angel Rodriguez and Neerida Akakpo served as curatorial assistants.

Ms. Strang explained, “Even though our Fine Arts offerings are still developing and we won't have our first Arrupe studio class until next spring, it seemed important to establish a structured annual opportunity for students to exhibit traditional two-dimensional and three-dimensional work that they have made in the past, or that they made on their own …

I also want Arrupe students whose creative work takes different or non-traditional forms to know that even though this is a relatively small learning community, there can be opportunities for everyone to share what they make and learn from each other.”

Sara, a freshman student artist, contributed her work entitled, Above All Resilient.  She remarked, “Being part of the Arrupe Art Show was a wonderful experience. I composed an art piece about my toughest obstacles and I never thought it would feel so relieving to exhibit the artwork. It was definitely a mixture of creativity and personal accomplishment.” 

Strang explained that she hopes to have a longer exhibit with an opening reception next year, and ultimately have students train one another regarding how to run the exhibit so that it can be completely managed by Arrupe students. 

Loyola Athletics Salutes PNC Student Achiever Stephanie Meza


Stephanie Meza, a student in Loyola University Chicago’s Arrupe College, was recently honored at a Ramblers men’s basketball game as part of the PNC Student Achievers program. The program is designed to acknowledge deserving Loyola student who display well-rounded achievement and leadership in the classroom, in the community and in competition.

Four students will be selected annually and recognized during a high-profile Loyola athletics event as part of the partnership between PNC Bank and Loyola University Chicago.

“We are very excited about our continued partnership with PNC Bank and the addition of the Student Achievers program in 2017,” Loyola Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations Tom Sorboro said. “The student recognition platform further demonstrates PNC’s commitment to the University community and to our shared values of leadership and excellence.”

Meza is a graduate of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. She was honored before a near-capacity crowd at the Loyola men’s basketball game versus Wichita State.

The Quinlan School of Business Student Achiever will be announced and recognized at the Loyola men’s volleyball match versus top-ranked Ohio State on March 16. The student-athlete Student Achievers will be announced and recognized during the Weekend of Excellence awards ceremony on April 22.

McCormick Foundation Visit


On Thursday, January 26th, representatives from The Robert R. McCormick Foundation visited Arrupe College and met with six of the twenty-seven students that the Foundation is supporting with substantial scholarships.

Ms. Ruthellyn Musil (BA ’75), who serves on Loyola University Chicago’s Board of Trustees as well as the Board of the McCormick Foundation, and Ms. Anna LauBach, director of special initiatives, visited Arrupe College for the second time to meet with some of their scholars and learn more about their experience at Arrupe.  Mr. Ronald Musil, also a generous supporter of Arrupe College, joined the meeting as well.

The McCormick Foundation was the first major donor to support Arrupe College, committing to an incredibly generous $1M grant in the spring of 2014 before Arrupe opened its doors to its inaugural class.  These funds are used to support substantial scholarships for Arrupe students that are ineligible for federal and state aid, as well as for faculty development and capital needs.

Arrupe College dean and executive director, Steve Katsouros, SJ, explained, “This gift was transformational because it allowed us to provide significant financial support to a large group of first-generation college students who could not pursue higher education without this support.”  

Students discussed their transitions to college, as well as some of the activities they are involved in at Arrupe and their plans after graduation.  During the meeting one of the students asked the visitors why the Foundation supports students like them and Ms. LauBach explained, “The Foundation’s goal is to improve the civic health in our region and one of the ways we do that is by providing support to individuals.” 

Ms. Musil added, "Ron and I believe strongly that education has the power to change lives. After getting to know these McCormick scholars, we are more convinced than ever that Arrupe College is giving very deserving students the opportunity to lead extraordinary lives."

Second Annual African American Read-In


On Thursday, February 23rd, the Arrupe College faculty hosted the second annual African American Read-In for a crowd of fifty students as part of Arrupe’s celebration of Black History Month.  The African-American Read-In (AARI) is a national initiative that was created by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1989.

During the Read-In students and staff read excerpts of literature from some of their favorite African-American poets and authors, including W.E.B. DuBois, June Jordan, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gloria Naylor and Robert Hayden. 

Freshman Jason Williams read “Dreams,” written by poet Langston Hughes in 1932.  He explained, “I chose this poem because everyone has dreams and everyone has obstacles in achieving their dreams.”  The event culminated in a raffle where participants won copies of books by African-American authors and Kindle Fire tablets.  Books were donated by Loyola Libraries and the American Library Association and tablets were donated by Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.  

Dr. Julia Bninski, literature and writing lecturer at Arrupe College, organized the event, remarking, "We wanted the Read-In to create an informal, accessible setting that invites students to engage with literature outside of the classroom. At the beginning of the event, I asked students to add their names to the sign-up sheet if they wanted to read out loud. I got a few takers, mostly students who don't mind public speaking. As the event went on, I enjoyed seeing how more and more students got comfortable with the idea of reading for an audience. Some of them went over to the display provided by the Loyola Libraries and picked up a book to share. Others pulled out their smartphones, found their favorite African-American poems, and asked to join the list of people reading out loud."

Freshman Jessica Aigbokhai read a poem by Lucille Clifton, “Won’t You Celebrate with Me.” She remarked, “This event allows us to share the great things people of my race have contributed to literature and I like to be informed.”  

Winter Town Hall Meetings


Arrupe College faculty and staff hosted two Winter Town Hall Meetings on January 20th for the morning and afternoon cohorts of students in order to celebrate students that had earned honors in the first semester and provide updates on upcoming college panels and visits, employment and career planning resources and student retreats.  

Dean and executive director, Steve Katsouros, S.J., presented fifty-five students with Dean’s List awards.  A student must earn a GPA of 3.5 or above for the semester in order to be placed on the Dean’s List.  Associate dean of academics, Dr. Jennifer Boyle, remarked, “I am so enthused and energized by our students’ performance this semester.  I am also inspired by their dreams and their determination to achieve them.  It is an honor to walk with them.”

Career coordinator, Ms. Farrah Ellison-Moore, explained the new, four-year career planning process, which includes an individual meeting with each student.  Ms. Julie Garcia, director of college placement, congratulated sophomores on their acceptances to several colleges and universities, including Loyola University Chicago, Dominican University and the University of St. Francis. Ms. Garcia also reminded students that Arrupe would be hosting another college panel on Thursday, February 23rd, with representatives from University of Wisconsin - Madison, Marquette University and DePaul University.

Arrupe Hosts College Panel


On Monday evening, September 26th, Arrupe College hosted a College Panel for students interested in transferring to four-year colleges and universities after graduating from Arrupe. Over sixty Arrupe students were present, and the panel included representatives from Loyola University Chicago, University of Chicago, Western Illinois University, Ripon College, Holy Cross College, Wheeling Jesuit University, Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame, and Saint Louis University.  Tanya Cabrera, Chair of The Illinois Dream Fund, also joined the panel.

The panel was organized by Arrupe’s new Director of College Placement, Ms. Julie Garcia, who comes to Arrupe after serving as the Coordinator of Student Services and College Counseling at Josephinum Academy, one of Arrupe’s top feeder schools.  Each college or university provided a ten minute presentation on their respective school and specifically focused on the scholarships and resources that they offer to transfer students. 

Ms. Garcia remarked, “The college and universities that came to present are committed to diversity and inclusion. They have been willing and enthusiastic to engage in conversations about how we can work collaboratively to ensure the success of our students. As a result, they were able to speak to the issues that directly impact our student body, ultimately allowing our students to see the institutions as viable options for the next phase of their education.”

For example, Saint Mary’s highlighted their student to faculty ratio of 10:1 and institutional aid and Holy Cross College noted that they have a great deal of experience serving first-generation college students, who constitute thirty-two percent of their student body.  Saint Louis University, which generously welcomed a group of students from Arrupe to their campus for a tour in August, also had a representative here throughout the day to have one-on-one meetings with Arrupe students. Wheeling Jesuit and Ripon College outlined numerous support initiatives already in place that Arrupe students would be able to access immediately upon arrival on campus.

Many Arrupe sophomores are busy working on their college transfer applications and Arrupe will host two more panels this fall to continue to help students learn more about the many options that are available to those interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree.  

Retreat for Student Leaders


During the October break Arrupe Assistant Dean for Student Success, Eric Immel, S.J., and faculty member Megan Kelly led a two-day leadership retreat for nineteen Arrupe students at Loyola University Chicago’s Retreat and Ecology Center (LUREC).

Students that are interested in leadership and active in one of several of the student organizations at Arrupe, such as Student Government, the Dreamers and Allies Student Organization (DASO), the Brotherhood Club and the Sisterhood Club, participated in the retreat.   The facilitators used Chris Lowney’s book, Heroic Leadership, as the guiding framework for the retreat.  This book focuses on the leadership principles that have guided the Society of Jesus for over 450 years: self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism.

The retreat included both freshmen and sophomore students.  Sophomore Erika Casillas participated in the retreat and felt that it was truly transformative.  She explained, “As soon as we got there everyone jumped in right away and started doing the activities. We were not afraid! This retreat really helped me take risks, believe in myself and try things that I thought I would never do.” 

Immel remarked that this experiential learning opportunity coupled well with the work that students are doing in the classroom and included small group work, presentations, self-reflection exercises and prayer. He remarked, “I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to student development in this way and found that Arrupe College students are hungry for and capable of engaging in high level leadership.”  

One year later, Arrupe students thriving


Brandon Thomas wasn’t sure how he was going to pay for college when he graduated from high school in 2015. But thanks to Arrupe, his college dream is now a reality. “I’m grateful that someone took a chance on me when I thought college was out of the picture,” Thomas says. (Photos: Natalie Battaglia)

By Kristen Torres  |  Student reporter

All Brandon Thomas hoped for after graduating high school was a shot at attending college.

“I wasn’t getting enough financial aid from the universities I applied to,” said Thomas, who graduated from Christ the King Jesuit College Prep High School in 2015 in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. “My father works at O’Hare and my mother is a teacher, so tuition was always going to be a big factor in my decision.”


Loyola’s Plan 2020 is a five-year roadmap to guide the University and promote social justice. This story falls into one of the strategic priorities outlined in the plan. Learn more here.

After a few months of disappointing phone calls and battling his fear of not continuing his education, Thomas was offered admission into Arrupe College, the two-year associate’s degree program of Loyola University Chicago.

“I was originally waitlisted, so when I got a call asking if I wanted to be an Arrupe student I was so happy,” Thomas said. “I’m grateful that someone took a chance on me when I thought college was out of the picture.”

Arrupe opened its doors to its inaugural class during the summer of 2015. All Arrupe students receive institutionally funded aid and/or merit scholarships, which means students such as Thomas will graduate with little to no debt.

Lisset, a second-year student at Arrupe, was initially hesitant about enrolling in a two-year program.

“I didn’t really like the idea of coming here, but since I’m undocumented I had no chance of getting money from a four-year school,” said Lisset, who moved to Chicago from Mexico when she was 5. “But then I started the school year, and I told myself to look at the positive side of things: I am undocumented and I still get to go to college.”

She is now a writing fellow at Arrupe, a new peer-tutoring program at the college.

“I’ve been doing really well in my classes, and now I get to help out the new freshmen,” she said. “It’s a really good feeling.”

An impressive start

Arrupe administrators Yolanda Golden (far left) and Father Stephen Katsouros, S.J., take a group of students to Eataly as a reward for raising their GPAs. “We’re accompanying students step-by-step through their post-secondary experience,” Katsouros says.

Father Stephen Katsouros, S.J., dean and executive director of Arrupe College, attributes the school’s success to the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis—or care for the entire person.

“Embracing this idea of caring for the whole student means that we have an intrusive style of advising,” Katsouros said. “Our faculty and advisors pay close attention to student progress. We’re accompanying students step-by-step through their post-secondary experience.”

That hands-on approach is clearly paying off.

At the end of year one, Arrupe’s average cumulative student GPA was 2.8—with more than 30 students making the summer Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. More impressive was the retention rate: 131 of the original 159 Arrupe students (82 percent) returned to school this fall to start their second year of college. And with a new incoming class of 187 students—an 18 percent jump from the original group—Arrupe is poised to educate even more students.

While the retention numbers easily surpass those of two-year colleges across the country, the news comes as no surprise to Arrupe’s instructors.

“The students here are capable of performing at the same level as the students I taught in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Sean O’Brien, PhD, a lecturer in writing and literature at Arrupe who previously taught at Loyola. “Our retention rate has a lot to do with our climate. We have pretty consistent messaging that if things get tough it’s not because you are not meant to be here—it’s because things get tough in college.”

Unlike traditional two-year colleges, Arrupe provides students with plenty of faculty contact. Professors double as advisors, which makes it easier to keep track of students and their progress. Professors are assigned 20 to 25 students that they will work with for the entirety of the student’s two-year education at Arrupe.

“When students come here they already know who their advisor is, and there is a first-hand connection that regular two-year colleges don’t provide,” said Minerva Ahumada, PhD, a philosophy lecturer at Arrupe. “We work with students as a whole person, and because of our size, we’re capable of doing that.”

The right decision

Arrupe professors double as advisors, which makes it easier to keep track of students and their progress. “We work with students as a whole person, and because of our size, we’re capable of doing that,” says philosophy lecturer Minerva Ahumada, PhD.  

Arrupe was opened to cater to students who needed a little extra help in high school or couldn’t afford attending a traditional four-year university. Students can schedule all of their classes in either the morning or the afternoon, leaving time to attend advising meetings or hold down a part-time job. To ease the financial burden even more, Arrupe offers a free breakfast and lunch program, which is funded by foundation and individual donor support. 

Arrupe students are encouraged to use Loyola’s other buildings and resources—including the Halas Recreation Center and Information Commons—and they receive the same CTA U-Pass that full-time Loyola undergraduate students do.

“Being able to go up to Loyola’s campus and meet people there really helped,” said Thomas, the second-year Arrupe student from Austin. It also drove home the point that he made the right decision to attend Arrupe.

“I’m very, very grateful to be here,” Thomas said.

Arrupe on Retreat: An Introduction to the Jesuits and Ignatian Spirituality

Arrupe on Retreat

During the month of February Arrupe students had the opportunity to go on retreat at LUREC (Loyola University’s Retreat and Ecology Center). These retreats, led by Jamie Calder, SJ, a Jesuit from the Australian Province, introduced students to the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality. Arrupe students learned about the values of Jesuit education and the lives of St. Ignatius Loyola and Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ. They also spent time learning and practicing the examen of consciousness, a daily prayer and reflection exercise that helps identify God’s presence in our lives. Arrupe student Brandon Thomas reflected about his retreat experience upon his return to school:

“We are all contemplatives in action”- Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ

This quote was the main message throughout the entire retreat and it made me think about life. It made me think about how we can change the world and how Arrupe is teaching me to be a better person. On my retreat I had plenty of time to reflect about why I am on this earth and the answer came to me simply but it is also complicated. I have to step out of my comfort zone. I have to meet new people, work with others, and be someone that desires to serve others.

When I think back on the retreat I can hear the words of St. Ignatius: “go and set the world on fire.” I believe that we should set the world on fire with love, hope and service to others. Thank you, Arrupe, for offering this retreat and helping me find this answer.

Arrupe College Winter Convocation

Arrupe College Winter Convocation

On January 27, 2016 the students, faculty and staff of Arrupe College gathered for the first Winter Convocation to celebrate student success in the first two academic sessions of the year. Fr. Katsouros opened the convocation by congratulating students for their efforts and reminding them about one of the key tenets of the Arrupe program: supporting one another through challenges. He then distributed the Dean’s Award to 32 students who maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher for the first two academic sessions and the Forward Award to 27 students who had made significant academic progress.

Arrupe’s Associate Dean of Academics, Dr. Jennifer Boyle, reflected on what she sees as the four core values of Arrupe: excellence, justice, compassion and collaboration. Then she invited students to do three things: “Pay attention to the values and the habits associated with them—where do you see them in yourself and others? Reflect on how you can better fulfill them and then do it! Act! Have the courage to realize them more fully each day.”

Associate Dean of Student Success Yolanda Golden remarked that it was appropriate that Arrupe held the Winter Convocation on the same day as Loyola University’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. since Arrupe students are overcoming barriers in pursuing their dream of a college education. She also congratulated students who have created various clubs at Arrupe, including Student Government, Theater Club, the Brotherhood Club and the Sisterhood Club.

Fr. Katsouros closed the ceremony by distributing two important awards: The Spirit of Arrupe Award and the Person for Others Award. Jontae Thomas, who works in the Admissions Office and is a constant warm and welcoming presence at Arrupe, won the Spirit of Arrupe Award. Edquitta Alexander, who works at LUMA, won the Person for Others Award to recognize her great support and care for her classmates and family members.

Archbishop blesses Arrupe College


Archbishop Blase J. Cupich prepares to bless Arrupe College during a September ceremony in Maguire Hall on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. Looking on are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, a Loyola graduate who sits on the Arrupe College Board of Directors. (Photo: Heather Eidson)

By Drew Sottardi  |  Senior writer

Education is the key to a better life—but so is helping others and a desire to always do more.

That was the message September 25 from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, and other dignitaries at the blessing of Arrupe College, the University’s new two-year associate-degree granting school for students with limited financial resources.


See a Flickr photo gallery from the blessing ceremony.
Read stories, watch videos about the Arrupe experience.
Visit the Arrupe College website for more information.

“Your education is your passport to a great future,” the mayor told a standing-room only crowd of almost 200, many of them Arrupe students. “It will open more doors than you can count today.”

“Some of us are fortunate to have walked through the door of opportunity,” the mayor said. “And the real measure of having walked through that door is when you reach back to others, do you pull that door shut? Or do you grab somebody’s hand and pull them through? I see this institution of higher education in the spirit of grabbing hundreds and hundreds of hands and pulling them through.”

The mayor also praised Loyola for its ongoing partnership with Senn High School on the city’s North Side and for consistently responding to his requests to support various education initiatives during his tenure.

“I want to say to Loyola that you have taken the mission of education, the mission of service, and the mission of picking people up and made it part of your DNA,” he said. “On behalf of the city of Chicago, thank you.”

Arrupe College opened earlier this year to nearly 160 students from low- income families to help them continue their education. It is named after Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J., a Jesuit priest who led the Society of Jesus for nearly two decades and made it his life’s work to educate men and women to serve others—an ideal that now guides Arrupe College and other Jesuit schools around the world.

Students at Arrupe College, which offers associate’s degrees in three concentrations, have small class sizes and significant one-on-one time with faculty members. They also receive financial aid support through various sources that will leave them with little or no debt.

And students who graduate from Arrupe College can transfer all of their credits to more than 100 Illinois institutions, getting them halfway toward earning a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university—at a fraction of the cost.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, a Loyola graduate who sits on the Arrupe College Board of Directors, shared her college experience with the students in attendance.

“I used to be a commuter,” she said, “just like you. I had a work-study program, right here in this building. And I loved the education I got at Loyola. I can tell you, I wouldn’t be standing here before you without my education.”

Her short speech drove home the importance of college.

“Education is the greatest equalizer,” she said. “No matter where you’re from—if you’re from Pilsen like me, or Gage Park, or the North Shore—education is the one thing that’s going to put you on that level playing field. It’s going to put you in that room as CEO. It’s going to put you in the operating room as the surgeon. It’s going to put you in the courtroom as the judge.” 

Before formally blessing the college, Archbishop Cupich addressed the crowd as well, urging them to achieve greatness.

“We’re here today because of desire,” he said. “The desire of young people to better themselves, to have the opportunity for more education and more opportunities in the future…. My hope would be that you would hold on strongly to that desire.”

But the archbishop stressed that the students needed to do even more.

“You need to also celebrate the desire of people to help you, to make this possible,” he said. “It’s a desire that meets your desire halfway. And that should be a source of encouragement for you. Hopefully that will get you through your difficult days when you’re trying to balance your life and job and education all at once.”

Student Stephanie Gonzalez, who is the first person in her family to attend college, said Arrupe has changed her life in just a few months.

“During my high school years, I was that one shy and quiet girl who was very reserved,” Gonzalez said, “but thanks to my oral communication and presentation class, I have improved on my confidence to speak up and to talk in front of an audience. Which is why I am here greeting you all today.”

Gonzalez also said her classes have helped her find her passion—mathematics—and that she loves to solve complex problems.

“They’re like puzzles that I can’t get enough of,” she said.

Without missing a beat, the mayor said: “We need you to run the budget.”

Among the Loyola administrators on hand September 25 were Stephen Katsouros, S.J., dean and executive director of Arrupe College; John P. Pelissero, PhD, interim president of Loyola University Chicago; and Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., chancellor and former president and CEO of Loyola University Chicago. Below are some of their remarks from the event:

“We want our students at Arrupe College to fall in love with the idea of being college students, of being academically successful in a rigorous Jesuit college environment.… We want them to fall in love with the idea that they can do this, that they can be successful at the corner of Pearson and State—and beyond.”—Stephen Katsouros, S.J.

“The opening of Arrupe College is a physical manifestation of our university’s commitment to ensure that all students, especially those from underserved communities, have access to an excellent education.”—John P. Pelissero, PhD

“Thank you, Father Katsouros, for taking my call and agreeing to come and take a look at this opportunity. And you’ve taken this idea and run with it.”—Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.

Introducing Arrupe College


Later this year, Arrupe College will open its doors to students with limited financial resources and help guide them to graduation with little or no debt.

Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, a two-year associate’s degree program for motivated students with limited financial resources and an interest in attending a four-year institution after graduation, is set to launch pending final approval by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Students graduating from the new college can expect little to no debt upon completion of the program.  

• Visit the Arrupe College website.
• Apply now—it’s easy and free. 
• Read key facts about the program.

Arrupe College addresses a serious problem in higher education across the country—the need to increase access to, and completion rates of, post-secondary education degrees for students from low-income families. The national debate highlights dismal statistics, including findings from Complete College America, which reports only five percent of full-time community college students earn an associate’s degree within two years. Another report notes that the percentages of students successfully completing two years of community college, in a three-year span, are well below one-third (Kena et al., 2014).

“It’s important for all of us in education to address the issues of accessibility and affordability in impactful ways,” said Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago and secretary of higher education for the Society of Jesus. “We strongly believe that we can offer an excellent education to talented young people through Arrupe College. We know that motivated students will succeed if given the resources and environment needed to achieve their educational goals. This college is core to Loyola’s mission of providing such access and our commitment to building a more just world.”  

Arrupe College’s education model includes:

  • Enhanced summer pre-enrollment orientation
  • A strong cohort and holistic, integrated series of supports for students to optimize their chances for academic and social success
  • Intensive one-on-one contact with specialized faculty
  • Significant increase in availability of faculty and staff due to small class sizes
  • A two-year associate’s degree that is fully transferable to state and private options throughout the state
  • A financial strategy that permits low-income students to fully finance the cost of instruction with financial aid that does not include assuming debt

The affordability of Arrupe College is a critical key to the model. All students who enroll will receive student aid, and the expectation is that students will carry little to no debt after completion of the program.

Named after Pedro Arrupe, S.J., former superior general of the Society of Jesus and a man who called upon Jesuit schools to educate men and women to serve others, Arrupe College will offer associate’s degrees in Arts and Humanities, Business, or Social and Behavioral Sciences. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be qualified to transfer to a public or private college/university.

“The development of Arrupe College is based on research and what we already know about the challenges facing underprepared, low-income students today,” said Stephen Katsouros, S.J., EdD, dean and executive director of Arrupe College. “We’ve created a college that features a holistic, integrated support structure unseen at the college level that we think optimizes our students’ chances for academic and social success.”

To retain its students and lead them to success, Arrupe College will offer an educational experience that includes extensive, one-on-one contact with experienced, full-time faculty members. The college’s faculty and staff will be recruited and trained carefully to ensure everyone in the community shares the common goals and values of working together to guarantee student success.

“We will learn a lot along the way; however, we already know through innovative programs like the Cristo Rey experience that highly structured programs can be successful,” said Father Katsouros. “We also know cohorts work. Significant access to faculty members who are invested in assessment works. Strong student services work. Now, it’s our job to be sure Arrupe students get the structured learning environment we’ve designed on paper.”

The value of higher education is irrefutable in terms of career and job preparation, financial independence, civic engagement statistics, and city, state, and national economic health. Arrupe College will give more individuals the access they need to earn a college degree and have success in today’s workforce.  

To learn more about Arrupe College and its enrollment process, please visit LUC.edu/arrupe.  

Key facts about Arrupe College

  • The core curriculum will be delivered in eight-week sessions and run four days per week with two classes each eight-week session. Students will complete most of their out-of-class work at school, and they are encouraged to hold part-time jobs.
  • An initial cohort of 100 freshmen is the goal for this academic year. The college will welcome its first cohort in summer 2015.
  • Arrupe College is committed to making this quality education a financial reality for undocumented students who are admitted to the program. Arrupe scholarships will be open to these students.
  • The Arrupe College model is designed to be replicated by other universities throughout the United States, particularly large private universities that have the flexibility to create new degree programs with variable pricing and staffing patterns.
  • Arrupe College will reside in Loyola’s Maguire Hall, at 1 E. Pearson Street, on the University’s Water Tower Campus.

Meet Arrupe freshman Michael Minor

Meet Arrupe freshman Michael Minor

What drew you to Arrupe College?
What drew me to Arrupe was the fact that it was a community-based college. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted while applying to colleges but I knew I wanted a community that would support me so that I could succeed. When I learned more about Arrupe and how small the classes would be I felt more comfortable because I knew it would be easier to get help if I ever needed it. It felt weird at the beginning since we went on a retreat with a bunch of strangers but it turned out to work for the best.

You are part of the inaugural class at Arrupe College. What student organizations and/or activities are you hoping to create or participate in at Arrupe?
One of the student activities I would like to create or participate in is a Fun Night. I love to laugh and I feel that maybe we should have a night where anyone who wants to join can play an assortment of games from charades to twister. College can be stressful so laughing and having a good time with friends and faculty can ease some of the stress.

What has been the most exciting part of your Arrupe College experience so far? What has been the most challenging?
I feel that my first Arrupe experience, the retreat at LUREC (Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus), was the most memorable. It was a fun-filled three days. I wish it had lasted longer because I had some unforgettable moments and it was very exciting. One thing that has been challenging is getting accustomed to three hour lectures and taking good notes. It is a skill that I am still working on.

What are you hoping to do after you graduate from Arrupe College in 2017?
After graduating from Arrupe I would definitely like to stay in Chicago at Loyola and live on campus. Loyola is a vibrant, friendly and beautiful place to study. I would love to increase my knowledge with Loyola’s superb criminal justice and criminology programs.

Arrupe College receives $1 million grant


Set to welcome its first group of students in July, Arrupe College is a two-year associate’s degree program for motivated students with limited financial resources. (Photo: Heather Eidson)

Loyola University Chicago announced June 10 that it has received a $1 million grant from the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation in support of the new Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Announced in February, Arrupe College is a two-year associate’s degree program for motivated students with limited financial resources and an interest in attending a four-year institution after graduation.


• Read the Crain’s Chicago Business story about the grant.

• See more news coverage about Arrupe College.

The McCormick Foundation grant will support student scholarships and a variety of operating expenses at the college, including education technology and capital needs. In recognition of the transformative gift, the University will establish the McCormick Scholars Program, which will reward the college’s highest achieving students. These scholars will be selected each year based on academic achievements, leadership qualities, and a proven commitment to social justice.

“We are truly grateful to the McCormick Foundation for its generous support of Arrupe College. The partnership with Loyola will ensure that talented young men and women in our city have access to a world-class academic program that will prepare them for future study or professional employment,” said Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago. “The McCormick Foundation is extraordinarily committed to education and engaged citizenry, and we are delighted to establish the McCormick Scholars Program in recognition of the Foundation’s support of, and investment in, students in Chicago.”   

The grant will be administered over a three-year period, ending February 2018. The Foundation will work with the University during this time to evaluate the college’s progress, develop a data feedback system to inform the education process, and document the development and implementation of this unique model to determine whether it is a sustainable option that can be used by other universities across the country.

“Arrupe College is a promising innovative program to increase college access and success for students without the financial resources to begin a traditional four-year program,” said David Hiller, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “Our hope is this scholarship will enable young people with a track record of excellence to earn a degree and go on to make an impact in their professions and communities.”

Set to welcome its first cohort of more than 150 students in July, Arrupe College addresses a serious problem in higher education—the need to increase access to, and completion rates of, post-secondary education degrees for students from low-income families. The program offers associate’s degrees in Arts and Humanities, Business, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Graduating students can expect little to no debt upon completion of the program.

Arrupe College’s education model includes:

• Enhanced summer pre-enrollment orientation

• A strong cohort and holistic, integrated series of supports for students to optimize their chances for academic and social success

• Intensive one-on-one contact with specialized faculty

• Significant increases in availability of faculty and staff due to small class sizes

• A two-year associate’s degree that is fully transferable to state and private colleges

•  A financial strategy that permits low-income students to fully finance the cost of their education with financial aid that does not assume debt

For more information on Arrupe College, visit LUC.edu/Arrupe. For questions about Arrupe College’s admission process, please call 800.262.2373 or send an e-mail to ArrupeAdmission@luc.edu.

Arrupe Spring Town Hall and Summer Fest

Arrupe Spring Town Hall and Summer Fest

On Wednesday, June 8th, Arrupe students, faculty and staff gathered at the Lakeshore campus on a gorgeous day for a Town Hall Meeting to celebrate their academic achievements in the fourth academic session and to hold the inaugural Arrupe Summer Fest to kick off the summer session.

Fr. Katsouros distributed awards to the forty-five students who made the Dean’s List during academic session four. Students must earn an average GPA of 3.5 or more in their courses for the academic session in order to make the Dean’s List. At the end of this session, eighty-four percent of Arrupe’s 142 students were on track to graduate with an Associate’s degree in two years.

After the Town Hall the Student Government Association of Arrupe College (SGAC) hosted a summer fest, including a picnic and games, on the West Quad for current and incoming Arrupe students. Students and faculty faced off in frisbee, flag football and relay races.

Arrupe students welcomed several members of the incoming freshmen class, answering questions about everything from orientation to majors and classes. SGAC President Osmar Cruz remarked, “It was a great day because it brought our entire community together – our class, the new students, our professors, and the cafeteria staff. It was a lot of fun.”

Inaugural Arrupe Quinlan Career Panel

Inaugural Arrupe Quinlan Career Panel

On Monday, June 20th Arrupe College and the Quinlan School of Business co-hosted a Career Panel for Arrupe students interested in pursuing careers in business. Arrupe Dean and Executive Director, Steve Katsouros, SJ, and Quinlan Dean, Kevin Stevens, co-moderated the panel.

The panel consisted of six professionals of color from various sectors of the business world, including financial services, marketing, information technology and not-for-profit. Five of the panelists were either graduates of Quinlan or currently pursuing an MBA at Quinlan. Jasmine Shells, CEO and Founder of Five to Nine, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Panelist LeRoy Chalmers, a Quinlan alumnus who serves as the Executive Director of the Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network, emphasized the importance of being a lifelong learner. He recommended keeping up to date on the latest developments in your field of interest by reading industry-related articles, attending conferences, and networking with others in your field in person and online through LinkedIn.

Panelist and Quinlan MBA student Icela Diaz earned her undergraduate degree in engineering and then switched her professional field to marketing. She stated that students should not fear making a career change if a new field interests them, and that her prior professional experience as an engineer was a great building block for her marketing career. Diaz and fellow panelists Nicole Lawrence and Gonzalo Borges, also current MBA students at Quinlan, recommended joining or volunteering for clubs or organizations related to your field of interest so that you are able to learn from those working in that field and hone your networking skills.

Nearly sixty Arrupe students attended the panel, asking questions ranging from how to start your own business to how to find mentors. After the event, Arrupe student Isaac McKeever commented, “I got to talk to Jasmine Shells after the panel and she gave me a lot of advice; advice on how to start up a business, what are different ways to get your name out, things I could do now to start building a foundation for myself, and the finances of it all - business school in general and being an entrepreneur.”

Arrupe College Meet and Greet

Arrupe College Meet and Greet

Rising sophomore and Arrupe Student Government Association member Asya Meadows served on a student panel at the event and wrote the following recap and reflection for our newsletter:

On Thursday, June 23, Arrupe College hosted a Meet and Greet for the incoming freshmen in Room 110. Students, faculty, and staff attended the event. It was the first event in which the second class and the first class officially met one another. We had a student panel that allowed the incoming students to get an idea of what it is like at Arrupe from a student perspective.

The moderator, Assistant Director of Admissions Isabel Reyes, asked the panel several questions and then opened up the floor to the new students. The questions included the following: What is your average day like at Arrupe? What was the transition like from high school to college? What was the retreat like at LUREC (Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Center)? What advice do you wish you had received when you were an incoming freshman?

I was glad that I was on the panel because I felt that I took what I learned from my own experience and gave it back to benefit the incoming freshmen. I think that letting the freshmen know that the Arrupe community supports each other and that there are reliable resources to further their success is important. I met a couple of the future students, and it was pretty cool that they are excited to come to Arrupe and that they wanted to chat a little bit more about what it was like for me.

One piece of advice that I think is helpful for new students is to download the Loyola apps, the student email, and the transit app on your phone. They help save so much time and the lecture you will get from your professors about checking your emails daily! This event was important because when I was a freshman I always wanted to know what to expect and how to prepare for college. It also gave the new students a chance to establish a connection with current Arrupe students so that when they arrive in the fall they won’t feel scared or alone because they already know someone. Finally, this event represents one of Arrupe’s core values, which is being men and women for others.