Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom

Press Release - April 11, 2022

Primary Contact:
Allyson Hamzey

Secondary Contact:
Matthew McDermott 

Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Academic Partnership Awarded to Loyola University Chicago’s Cura Scholars and its Co-Developers 

CHICAGO – April 11, 2022Cura Scholars, a Loyola University Chicago program, and its co-founders, Ashley Williams and Betsi Burns, were awarded the Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Academic Partnership at the March 19 meeting held by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA).  

Cura Scholars is a mentoring program founded in 2020 at Loyola for students of color centered around research-based relationships between faculty and the students. The goal of the Cura Scholars Program is to holistically support the academic and career success of students of color, with a focus on future graduate and professional studies. The program, supported by a $300,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, was co-founded by Student Academic Services (SAS) and the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL). 

“It’s always rewarding to see colleagues recognized by their peers at other universities for their work,” said David H. Van Zytveld, director of the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL), who nominated Williams and Burns. “From concept incubation to program implementation in a relatively fast pace, Cura Scholars is up and running thanks to the committed efforts of Ashley and Betsi and our extraordinary faculty at Loyola.” 

The program received more than 60 undergraduate applications and 95 faculty applications in its first year, with 34 students and 33 faculty members selected to share in collaborative research work and personal development. 

“At Loyola, nothing gives us greater pleasure than seeing our students aspire and thrive,” said Williams. “The Cura Scholars program meets a student need and has gained great traction across Loyola due to the closeness of our community. Betsi and I are deeply moved by the recognition that JASPA has bestowed upon this invaluable program in support of students of color and on our Loyola Chicago community.  It inspires us to keep moving forward and expanding this program’s impact.” 

The Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Academic Partnership award is conferred annually in recognition of a program or initiative that demonstrates collaboration or integration of academic and student affairs in support of student success and student learning. JASPA recognizes that the development of such programs and initiatives is a creative process requiring a multitude of skills and talents including focus, adaptability to different campus environments, and proven effectiveness. 

“It is a privilege to work collaboratively with our team to holistically support our Cura Scholars and faculty mentors. To be acknowledged by our peers is the highest honor, and it is affirming that we as Jesuit institutions strive to support and empower our students in all aspects of their experience,” said Burns. “We are grateful to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for believing in our vision and the generous funding that allows us to fulfill this need in our community.”  

For more information about Cura Scholars, email curascholars@luc.edu or visit: https://www.luc.edu/sas/learningandstudentsuccess/curascholars. 

About Loyola University Chicago 
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens), and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 14 schools, colleges, and institutes, including Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, School of Environmental Sustainability, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, Quinlan School of Business, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, and Stritch School of Medicine. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago.  

About JASPA 
The Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators, or JASPA, seeks to further the mission of Jesuit higher education in student affairs. JASPA was originally founded in 1954 as the Conference of Jesuit Student Personnel Administrators (CJSPA).