Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence


Russell Gonzalez

Russell Gonzalez
Economics and International Studies

Meet Russell Gonzalez, a mentor for the Multicultural Learning Community in Simpson Hall. Gonzalez is in the senior honors society, the Maroon & Gold Society, and he is serving as the student representative on the search committee responsible for identifying the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?

Loyola is very different than other universities. As an urban, Jesuit institution, our focus is very much wrapped up in social and economic justice, values-based learning, and community-based growth.

Do you think Loyola has been a rewarding experience?

Yes. Loyola not only gives us access to incredible student affairs professionals that really care about who I am and who I need to be, but upper administration also makes a concerted effort to put full-time faculty with our undergraduates. Not all big research institutions do that for their undergraduates.

Is there anything that could have made your Loyola experience more meaningful?

No, nothing could make my time at Loyola more meaningful than it has been. I’m more myself than I ever was. Loyola nurtured in me a strong sense of self and gave me a second family that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

What can be done on campus, in classrooms, etc., to make you more enthused in other learning opportunities at Loyola, both inside or outside of the classroom?

If Loyola had an interdisciplinary development studies program, I would have joined immediately.

What advice would you give students, either currently at Loyola or thinking of coming here, about how to get the best out of their education?

First, they should plan from their freshman year to study abroad during their junior year. It will be the single most transformative time of their development. Second, they must engage with the faculty. We have brilliant professors here that care deeply about the state of the world. They have a lot to say, and any student should take some time and listen. Lastly, I’ll say that they should not make drinking or relationships the focus of their time at the University. Having fun with friends is unquestionably valuable, but too many people lose track of who they are at the expense of their forward momentum.

What is your biggest realization here at Loyola?

My growth while at the University was a type of flow, a crescendo that is supposed to culminate in my joining the real world. However daunting my next step may be, Loyola has prepared me to face it.