Alumni Spotlight: Joseph Sheils
Alumni Spotlight: Joseph Sheils, BA ’90, credits his strong liberal arts education as an English major at Loyola with his success in finance and business consulting and his ongoing civic engagement.
We are pleased to shine our Alumni Spotlight on Joseph Sheils, (BA ’90), who credits his strong liberal arts education in the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago for his success as a financial executive and business consultant, and who continues to pay it forward with continued service leadership at Loyola and in the wider community.
After graduation from St. Ignatius College Prep, Sheils enrolled at John Carroll University, a Jesuit university in Ohio, but explains that circumstances brought him back home to the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, where he resumed his education as a commuting student at Loyola.
“Having gone to St. Ignatius, there was a familiarity to Loyola that felt immediately comfortable and inspiring,” he says. “Looking back, I can say that part of it was being cared for and educated in the Jesuit way and constantly being encouraged to embrace intellectual exploration, to find our talents and to discover what moves us to act in service to others. Through St. Ignatius, John Carroll and then Loyola, I began to internalize those values.”
The familiarity may also be a fruit of his family tree. His father, John, is a 1974 graduate of the School of Continuing Education, and his paternal grandmother, Agnes Sheils, took classes at Loyola in the 1930s on her way to becoming a teacher in Chicago Public Schools.
Sheils at first thought he would major in math or computer science. Then he considered political science and the idea of going to law school. Then, when he started to look at the English and literature course offerings, he found the possibilities compelling.
“When I looked at the course catalog, there were so many classes that seemed to me to encompass the whole human experience from so many eras and different perspectives. That is the beauty of Loyola and the Jesuit approach to a liberal arts education. I majored in English, and learned how to reason and how to think. I learned how to write. I learned how to learn. It opened up limitless paths for me.”
The ability to delve into new areas, to understand people, and climb learning curves helped to shape his career and his service today. After graduating, he took a job in banking, earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience over three decades in financial services, most recently as Head of Retail Banking for MB Financial Bank in Chicago prior to its acquisition by Fifth Third Bank in March 2019.
Now he helps others “learn to learn” as president of Commonwealth Consulting LLC, a boutique firm that provides professional expertise in the design and execution of strategic plans, including business development, organizational structure, marketing and financial management.
Sheils brings that same brand of expertise and continual learning to his Loyola service. He is a member of the Loyola University National Alumni Advisory Board and Loyola's College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Advisory Council. He is also president and co-founder of the St. Ignatius College Prep Business Society and serves as Treasurer of the Union League Club of Chicago, one of the premier civic organizations in the country.
He and his wife, Kate Evert, live in Chicago. They are the parents of two children, Margaret, and Ted, a member of the Loyola Class of 2022 and student manager of the Ramblers men’s basketball team. Like all fans, the Sheils are so proud of what the Ramblers have accomplished, and Joe sees nothing but continued excellence in Loyola’s future, and he will remain a season ticket holder for years to come
“It has been amazing and inspiring to watch the transformation of Loyola from the commuter school of my time to the multi-dimensional international university that it is today,” he says. “I think that innovative energy stems from the Jesuit core tenant of Cura Personalis, care for the whole person. It begins in the strong commitment to the liberal arts as embodied in the College of Arts and Sciences.”
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About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest of Loyola University Chicago’s 14 schools, colleges, and institutes. More than 150 years since its founding, the College is home to 19 academic departments and 31 interdisciplinary programs and centers, more than 400 full-time faculty, and nearly 8,000 students. The 2,000+ classes that we offer each semester span an array of intellectual pursuits, ranging from the natural sciences and computational sciences to the humanities, the social sciences, and the fine and performing arts. Our students and faculty are engaged internationally at our campuses in Rome, Italy, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as at dozens of University-sponsored study abroad and research sites around the world. Home to the departments that anchor the University’s Core Curriculum, the College seeks to prepare all of Loyola’s students to think critically, to engage the world of the 21st century at ever deepening levels, and to become caring and compassionate individuals. Our faculty, staff, and students view service to others not just as one option among many, but as a constitutive dimension of their very being. In the truest sense of the Jesuit ideal, our graduates strive to be “individuals for others.” For further information about the College of Arts and Sciences, please visit our website at www.luc.edu/cas/