BY ISN STAFF | May 14, 2019

This month, Loyola University Chicago’s Arrupe College celebrates the success of its first graduating class completing their bachelor’s degrees at universities and colleges across the nation. Launched in 2015, Arrupe College is a two-year associate’s degree program that provides a rigorous liberal arts education to motivated students with limited financial resources and an interest in attending a four-year institution.

Nationally, 34 percent of students who complete their associate’s degrees and enroll in a bachelor’s program earn their bachelor’s degrees at the end of six years. This spring, 47 percent of Arrupe’s first class of graduates will earn their bachelor’s degree in four years—two years after they received their associate’s at the inaugural Commencement and two years ahead of the national average. By the end of the calendar year, 84 percent of Arrupe’s first graduating class will have bachelor’s degrees.

More than 20 Arrupe alumni crossed the stage at Gentile Arena as a part of Loyola University Chicago’s Commencement proceedings. Asya Meadows is one of those graduates.

“It’s a lot of work to meet everybody where they’re at and then bring everybody to the same level,” she said reflecting on the support she received at Arrupe. “Everybody has their own learning curve…They understand that life hits us in different ways.”

Asya Meadows (center) with fellow Loyola University Chicago graduating seniors during the school’s Senior Toast. (Photo: Lukas Keapproth)

After flourishing at Arrupe as a Dean’s List scholar, student body president, and commencement speaker, Meadows received one of the University’s Continuum Scholarships that funded her tuition and housing while she completed her bachelor’s degree at Loyola. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Loyola’s School of Communication in advertising and public relations and hopes to lend her expertise in a nonprofit or arts setting.

Alumni will also be receiving their bachelor’s degrees from a variety of other institutions this spring, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Regis University, DePaul University, Columbia College of Chicago, and Dominican University.

Blanca Rodriguez graduates from Dominican University. (Photo: Ryan Pagelow/Dominican University)

“Arrupe College prepared me for my experience at Dominican University by creating a safe space where I was able to grow in a community,” said Blanca Rodriguez, an Arrupe alumna. “I felt motivated and encouraged to reach my goals by all my professors at Arrupe as they were always available and willing to answer questions or simply talk about life. I was part of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society and through the help of staff members, I was given opportunities that allowed me to step out of my comfort zone by connecting with other students from all over the United States.”

Arrupe College’s Dean and Executive Director Father Steve Katsouros S.J. (Photo: Lukas Keapproth)

Rodriguez graduated from Dominican University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology earlier this May. Arrupe and Dominican recently formed a partnership that will allow many more students to enjoy a smooth transition while transferring from one school in downtown Chicago to the other in River Forest. The agreement provides increased support to Arrupe graduates in the transfer process and enables both institutions to work collaboratively in ensuring students’ success as they pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

“We are grateful that our colleagues at Loyola and at other institutions have embraced a cura personalis—‘care for the whole person’—approach in supporting our Arrupe alumni as they pursue their bachelor’s degrees,” said Stephen Katsouros, S.J., dean and executive director of Arrupe College. “I am in awe of what our students have accomplished and am so proud to see them participating in graduations around the country wearing our Arrupe College stoles. We are blessed to already have a network of alumni who are setting an inspiring pace for our current students.”

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