The team to root for
During their 2017-18 regular season, the men's basketball team steadily built the momentum that led them to take the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. But, the Ramblers' complete media takeover during March Madness was something no one could predict, as they took out the No. 6 seed (followed by Nos. 3, 7, and 9) to earn themselves a spot in the Final Four. Along the way, the team did more than become the Cinderella story of the year. They brought together students, alumni, and sports fans from across the country to learn just what being "Created by Culture" is all about.
Stritch’s newest graduates
Four years ago, they became the first undocumented students in the country to attend the first medical school to openly accept DACA-status applicants. And this May, they became the first six to graduate from the Stritch School of Medicine and take the next step toward becoming doctors. While finishing her fourth year, Aaima Sayed said: “I was so determined to get here and at times I wonder, was that me being naive? I think if anything that was a good thing, me being naive or stubborn, because it led me to Stritch. It made it all worth it.”
A top university
Being named a Top 100 school by U.S. News and World Report was just one recognition Loyola received this year. The University was also named 53rd best college for veterans and 14th in the country for online bachelor's programs. The School of Law's part-time JD program earned the highest ranking in Chicago and the Midwest at No. 14. While at the Quinlan School of Business, the part-time MBA program was placed at No. 32 in the country, and its undergraduate business program is at the top of the class in Chicago.
Sister Jean turns 99
The Final Four run wasn't the only highlight of 2018 for Loyola's foremost on- and off-campus celebrity. Sister Jean made People's list of the "100 reasons to love America," was the answer to a question on Jeopardy!, and was given the Sword of Loyola at the University's annual Founders' Dinner. And on August 21, she celebrated her birthday with a small group of staff, faculty, and students, where Coach Porter Moser presented the chaplain with her very own Ramblers jersey—bearing, of course, No. 99. Before her big day (and big cake), Sister Jean told the Chicago Tribune: “I don’t know if they should have that many (candles). Maybe put two 9s in it.”
Leading the way for women
Women may be underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields nationally, but not at Loyola. Nearly half of all 2015-16 degree recipients were women, making Loyola one of the top ranked schools in the country for percentage of female STEM graduates. In contrast, one report found that nationally, women make up only 35 percent of undergraduate STEM degree graduates. A part of what has earned Loyola the No. 7 ranking in the country is providing opportunities for mentorship and guidance from women faculty members (who are making strides as leaders in their own fields).
Out to the ball game
This September, roughly 2,000 Ramblers packed Wrigley Field during Loyola Cubs Community Night. As the Chicago Cubs faced off against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Mens Basketball Coach Porter Moser took the honors of singing "Take me out to the ball game" during the seventh inning stretch.
Sprouting greener education
Loyola has long been recognized for its commitment to sustainability. This year it was College Magazine that placed the University at No. 5 on its list of eco-friendly colleges. Along with the announcement of the Searle Center for Sustainability Innovations, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability is looking back to five years of bringing research and student opportunities to Loyola. But, green initiatives are taking place across every discipline as more than 1,300 courses at the University include sustainability learning objectives.
New Student Convocation is an annual tradition at Loyola, inducting freshmen and transfer students into their graduating class. This year though, the incoming first-year students marked the largest in Loyola's history with more than 2,700 students from 47 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and 34 foreign countries.
The day the puppies came
Sure, March Madness was nice. But, what 2018 really needed was puppies—way, way more puppies. To meet that call, the Wellness Center's new therapy dog, Ashlar, kept the usual hours and other four-legged friends made appearances at De-stress Fests before finals. However, it was the School of Communication and the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago who hosted a Puppy Pop-up, letting loose some young pups desperate for hugs. Now, that's something to cheer about.
Service is something that happens every day at Loyola, but that doesn't mean we can't have special days to recognize it. For alumni, it is April's National Jesuit Alumni Service Day. And for staff and faculty, the Feast of St. Ignatius provides a perfect opportunity for a summer break from the office to serve the Chicago community. On this year's Ignatian Service Days, members of the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses lent a hand at local organizations, including Well of Mercy, the House of the Good Shepherd, and the Madonna House, while the Health Sciences Division stepped up in the nearby Maywood and Berwyn communities.
The next step
For those in their final year at Loyola, there's no bigger highlight than their Commencement ceremony. Years of studying, researching, writing, and sometimes dancing finally come together with a degree. Throughout their Loyola Experience though, students have discovered more than just papers and tests.
“‘Go forth and set the world on fire,’ and as cheesy as it is, that is one of my favorite quotes,” said Kelly Ravenscraft, a 2018 graduate. “I think that’s exactly what Loyola does, it seeks to prepare its students to go forth with our passions and with our experiences. We want to make change in the world, and Loyola does a great job of supporting its students with that.”
See more from 2018 in Loyola's year in review.