Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence


Brandon Thies

Brandon Thies
Classical Civilization

Meet Brandon Thies, a (year), and member of the prestigious Maroon and Gold Society, treasurer of Alpha Sigma Nu (the Jesuit Honors Society), a member of the student development committee for the Board of Trustees, president of Phi Alpha Theta (the History Honors Society), and member of Phi Sigma Tau (the Philosophy Honors Society) and Alpha Phi Omega (the national service fraternity).

What has been a motivating factor for you in your work here at Loyola?

I come from a lower middle-class background, my father never graduated from college, and my mother passed away when I was 17. So, I’ve always seen Loyola as my one shot to make a good life for myself. These circumstances have inspired me to work very hard. Plus, I love what I study so I don’t really consider what I do work.

I’m also driven by the idea, first developed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, that we are all woven together in “a single garment of destiny.” Money, power, and even beauty don’t matter very much when you consider life as a whole and having lived in Chicago for three years. I have seen so many homeless men and women, and I keep sadly asking myself if the amount of money you have in your pocket determines your humanity in relation to the rest of society. Ultimately, I just want to help make the world a better place.

How did you get involved in service at Loyola?

Because I come from a lower middle-class background, Loyola would have been too expensive for me if it weren’t for the wonderful Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters of the Poor service scholarship I received. This scholarship requires that I do at least 20 hours of service a semester, and the requirement inspired me to serve the homeless at St. Thomas Canterbury Soup Kitchen. I enjoyed this experience so much that I wanted to do more!

Did you have an "ah ha" moment at Loyola?

At the end of freshman year, I was walking along the lakeshore talking with a professor of mine, John Kelleher. I told him about how I really wanted to study abroad, but I didn’t think I could do it because I didn’t think I had enough financial support. He told me in so many words that I shouldn't be afraid; instead, I should go after what I would love to do because the future is promised to no one. The next day (my 19th birthday), I started the application process to go to Loyola’s John FeliceRome Center and the rest is history.

What do you think are the highlights of your experience at Loyola?

I am fortunate enough to have many highlights, but I would say my experience at the Rome Center was the most brilliant highlight of my experience at Loyola.

What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?

In my mind, three things differentiate Loyola from other universities: location, diversity, and Jesuit identity.