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History, Mission and Values


Since 1986, the Students Together Are Reaching Success (STARS) program has supported the retention and success of Loyola University Chicago students. The program connects first-year students, particularly students of color and first-generation college students, with successful upper-class students for individual and group mentoring. Peer mentors provide mentees with guidance and advice throughout the first year of college and assist with their transition to campus life. In addition, mentors participate in academic, social, cultural, and leadership activities designed by the peer mentors to support and facilitate their mentee’s success at Loyola.

The STARS program is funded with generous sponsorship from the Siragusa Family Foundation, a local family foundation committed to supporting Chicago-area organizations that focus on arts and culture, education, the environment, health, or human services. The Siragusa Foundation works in partnership with organizations, communities and other philanthropic entities to connect those in need of services, bridge people to opportunities, and engage them as valued individuals in a caring society with the purpose of fulfilling basic needs, enhancing quality of life and fostering a sense of community.

Program Mission

To provide students of color and/or first-generation students in their first year of college with the support and resources to successfully find a home with academic, co-curricular, personal, and social rigors of college, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive into their second year. Through their mentorship experience, participants will be provided the tools to design their own unique path to success.

Program Vision

All first-year students at Loyola University Chicago will successfully transition into and feel empowered throughout their first year of college, as well as be prepared – academically, socially, and personally - to complete the remainder of their college experience at Loyola.

STARS Commitment

  • STARS will build COMMUNITY through peer mentoring and intentional programming that engages the mind, body, and spirit while fostering a sense of belonging.
  • STARS will foster EMPOWERMENT by encouraging first generation college students and students of color to take pride in their lived experiences and use them as navigational capital in order to contribute to their success as a college student.
  • STARS will embody THRIVING by creating opportunities for students to prosper academically, professionally, and socially throughout their experience at Loyola University Chicago.