As you wrap up your senior year of high school and head toward graduation, you’re probably thinking about the time that has passed and the memories you’ll take with you.
Years from now, you’ll remember the town or city where you went to school and where you hung out. You’ll remember where friends worked a part-time job or where you spent your summers. Your graduation will be marked with robes and tassels and hats that match the school’s colors. The mascot or school seal will probably appear on your diploma. You’ll always be a member of your school’s class of 2012 and your diploma will be a symbol of the experiences you’ve had over the past four years.
I thought I would share a little bit about what it means to attend Loyola and what might influence your four years here in Chicago. Most people see the name “Loyola” and gather that we are a Jesuit university, but what is the history behind that Loyola name? What does it mean for your Loyola Experience?
Ignatius Loyola, our namesake, was a soldier and a noble from a Basque family. While fighting in the Battle of Pamplona, he was seriously wounded. During a very long recovery, he read about the life of Jesus and the saints and he concluded that he could offer more in his life via prayer and assistance to the poor and the sick. In 1540, he formed a group of Catholic priests known as the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, who would go on to focus on missionary work around the world.
Today, the work of Ignatius and his companions are part of a nearly 475-year-old tradition focused on education of the whole person, care for the individual, and a call to know oneself better.
If you look at the Loyola logo, you will see two wolves and a cauldron. It is said that the Loyola family was so well-off that they always made sure that others had food to eat, including the animals. You will see the year 1870, Loyola Chicago’s founding year. In the upper right corner are the seven stripes representing the 7 Loyola brothers and the words “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” or “For the Glory of God.”
I think it is important that you know Loyola represents a strong tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Our hope is that you spend time here at Loyola getting to know yourself better and deciding how you will use your talents and skills to make your communities and towns better places.