Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership

Golden Phoenix Society

The central figure of the crest is the Phoenix, a universal symbol of rebirth, immortality and renewal. After the Great Chicago Fire, the city of Chicago adopted the symbol of the phoenix to express the determination of the people of Chicago to rise anew from the ashes of the fire. As the first Catholic college for women in Chicago, Mundelein College selected the symbol of the phoenix as an expression of the undaunted courage a handful of BVMs on Chicago’s North Side exemplified as they founded Mundelein College in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929. Determined to extend Catholic higher education to women of modest means, Mundelein College broke ground for building the Skyscraper in 1929, just days after the crash. Mundelein College was founded to shape women leaders in Church and society and not even the crash would detour the BVMs from their mission. Mundelein College opened its doors in September 1930 and educated all of us and many more to be “phoenixes,” the signs of hope in a world that desperately needs our talents.