February 19, 2015 — The world’s first Jesuit community college — Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago — is scheduled to open this August. The college will provide students with the same liberal arts core curriculum classes offered at the university, but at a more affordable cost, according to USA Northeast Jesuit Fr. Stephen Katsouros, Arrupe’s dean and executive director.
Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, SJ, president of Loyola University, first proposed the college after assessing the needs of students with limited financial resources in the Chicagoland area. After it was approved in June 2014, Fr. Katsouros was entrusted with getting Arrupe College off the ground and running.
Fr. Katsauros entered the Society in 1987 and has been working in Jesuit schools since his regency. He served Saint Peter's Prep in Jersey City as dean of student affairs, director of development and assistant to the president. He then went on to spend nine years at the Loyola School in New York City, serving as president. Before coming to Chicago to work at Arrupe College, he was the director at the Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco.
“This is really the result of President Fr. Garanzini. His vision and the Jesuit mission of making this kind of education available and accessible to lots of different people, particularly people who are marginalized economically,” Fr. Katsouros said. “The Jesuits and our colleagues do not want our colleges and universities to become elite. [If we do so] we are leaving such great and college-deserving students behind.”
Arrupe College has committed to helping 2,275 earn associate’s degrees by 2025; to meet the goal, Arrupe must admit around 200 students each year.
The college has already pitched its program to 23 high schools across the Chicagoland area, in the hopes that they will become feeder schools for Arrupe. Representatives from the college are traveling to these schools to meet with prospective students for pre-enrollment advising and to assist students and their families in filing federal aid applications.
For Preston Kendall, president of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, Ill., Arrupe College gives some of his students a realistic opportunity to continue their education past high school.
“We are excited [about] Arrupe because it focuses on why students don’t go on to get their degrees. Maybe it is financial reasons or social reasons, but Arrupe’s focused on what our kids need: affordability, structure and counseling,” said Kendall.