Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence

Zac Davis

PHOTO: Natalie Battaglia Zac Davis chats with friends while they wait to leave for the Class of 2015’s Senior Retreat in suburban Woodstock. “My involvement in student organizations has given me a strong sense of community and purpose during my time here,” he says.

Zac Davis

Majors: Philosophy and Theology
Class: 2015  •  Hometown: Delaware, OH

Not many people can say they shook hands with the Pope. Even fewer can say they gave him a high five.

But Zac Davis did exactly that while studying in Rome as part of Loyola’s Ricci Scholars program. Closer to home, he’s worked as an Orientation leader and a peer advisor, and he’s been involved on a project about the original library collection of St. Ignatius College, the precursor of Loyola University Chicago.

Here, he talks about his memories from overseas, what makes Loyola unique, and why students shouldn’t worry too much about their futures.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?

I’m torn between so many. But I’ll choose two that have been on my mind lately: Giving Pope Francis a high five as he drove by in the Popemobile while I was at the Rome Center, and watching the sun rise over the Great Wall of China after a night of camping while studying in Beijing.

Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.

I’ve had so many professors that have pulled me along intellectually, often with a high level of resistance on my end. For them I’m forever grateful. Still, one of the biggest influences on my time at Loyola has been from Terri Thomas, director of Student Services. Ever since I worked as a peer advisor in UNIV 101, she’s been invested in my Loyola experience. I can definitely say that Terri has significantly impacted my life.

Tell us about your research: what it is, how you got involved, and what you hope to accomplish with it.

My junior year I studied in Rome and Beijing through the Ricci Scholars program. My project focused on the relationship between the Catholic funeral and Italian and Chinese culture. Another project I’m working on is the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, through the Catholic Studies research fellowship. We’re working to locate, document, and organize the original library collection of St. Ignatius College.

How has your involvement in student organizations or service work helped shape you as a person?

My involvement in student organizations—whether it be Loyola Students for Life or Quidditch, my research team or campus ministry—has given me a strong sense of community and purpose during my time here. 

What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?

Loyola’s mission. Being a community rooted in the pursuit of justice, faith, and knowledge drives everything we do. Or it should, at least. Even when we think we aren’t living up to our mission, I’m thankful that Loyola is a place where we can have conversations about how best to live out our call to be “Chicago's Jesuit, Catholic University.”

And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

I don’t have any set plans. I have goals I’d like to accomplish, but I try to be open to ways that I will change and the needs of the world will. I think college students stress out too much about this very question. If you’re a student reading this who’s worried about your future—don't. Take these four years to smell the flowers.