Monthly Archives: September 2018

IPS Alumna Kimberly Cavnar (MAPS ’80) Receives Damen Award

Kimberly Cavnar (MAPS ’80) was recognized with the Damen Award at the recent Founders’ Dinner.

Named for Loyola University Chicago’s primary founder, Arnold J. Damen, S.J., the Damen Award is granted to an alumnus(a) from each of Loyola’s schools and colleges.  It recognizes the qualities of leadership in industry, leadership in the community, and service to others.

Currently the principal of St. Francis Xavier School, the only Jesuit Catholic PS-8 school in Phoenix, Kim Cavnar has devoted her life to teaching and leadership in education.  Before pursuing graduate studies at Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, Ms. Cavnar earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola.  Upon graduation, she served as the University’s associate director of campus ministry and also taught part time from 1977 to 1980 in the Department of Communication Arts.  In addition, she has taught religious studies and served in campus ministry at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange, St. Louise de Marillac High School in Northfield, and St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.  She taught and served in leadership roles at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, Brophy Jesuit College Preparatory in Phoenix, and Loyola High School of Los Angeles.  Ms. Cavnar earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University.

Mary Novak, a friend and former colleague of Kim, says, “Kim simply and directly defines Ignatian ideology.”  She continues, “I was lucky enough to know Kim when she was the Assistant Principal in charge of Ministry at Brophy College Preparatory.  I was working in counseling and became involved with the Office of Peace and Justice, through retreats and serving on committees involving student activism and peer formation. Her office was the hub.  Students with a range of differences found solace and solidarity in that space because of Kim’s unique ability to engage even the most apprehensive students.  She is inherently kind, and compassionate, traits driven by her genuine effort to create a society steeped in justice and inclusiveness.”

“Kim Cavnar embodies all that is good in this Jesuit community.  In short, she makes people better, instilling in us in the responsibility to see the wrong in our society and commit to advocate for those most marginalized through prayer and action.  I am so grateful to have had Kim who has mentored and nurtured my spirituality in a life-changing way.  In the words of Pope Francis, “We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, and spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.”

Kim embodies all of the above.  Her commitment to Jesuit Education is not her job.  It is her life, and those fortunate enough to have been touched by her guidance, are truly blessed.”

IPS is proud to honor Kimberly Cavnar with the Damen Award.


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New Faces at IPS Staff: Diamond Gant and Kevin Pease

This 2018-2019 academic year, IPS welcomes two new staff members: Diamond Gant and Kevin Pease.


Kevin Pease joined this summer as the Director of Chicago Catholic Scripture School, a program under the Continuing Education umbrella of IPS.  The IPS Chicago Catholic Scripture School fosters a transformational encounter with Jesus Christ through instruction and formation in Sacred Scripture within a Roman Catholic framework.

Kevin is very excited to be back in Chicago (and especially at Loyola!) after seven years away in the California bay area.  After graduating from LUC in 2011 with a B.S. in Secondary Education, Kevin pursued a Master’s in Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in order to teach theology at the high school level.  In 2013, Kevin was hired in the Religious Studies Department of Mercy High School in San Francisco, an all-girls Catholic school, where he taught the Bible for five years.  Kevin looks forward to accompanying adult life-long learners on their own faith journeys with God.


Diamond Gant joined early this month as the new Administrative Assistant for IPS.  We managed to spend some time with recent Loyola alumna, Diamond:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  (Grew up where, family, etc.)        Hey, what’s up!? My name is Diamond Gant. I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago to two loving parents, Doretha and Bobby Gant. I have an older brother named Jamal and we are about 15 years apart. After 4 long and triumphant years, I was blessed to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism from Loyola University. On Saturday’s I am a videographer for the “Live from the Heartland Radio Show”. I also own my own YouTube channel where I do reaction videos, vlogs, dancing and more! Speaking of dancing; dance is my passion and this has always been so since I was 4 years old. I’ve done a variation of dance from tap to ballet, modern, jazz, African and Hip-Hop. My favorite style of dance is hip-hop because of its significance to my culture in addition to the fact that I feel like it provides me with more freedom to express myself through different textures and grooves. I am also currently apart of two Chicago based dance groups: CreateInMotion & MINT!

What is your current role at IPS?        I am the Administrative Assistant for IPS and I AM ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS POSITION! Everyone within the office is so supportive and encouraging.

What were you involved in prior to working at IPS?        Prior to working with IPS I was a camp counselor for the summer of 2018.  Although kids can be a handful at times, I truly enjoy working with them because of how animated and imaginative they are.

How did you discern IPS to be a next step?        I believe that I was able to discern that IPS would be my next step because for one thing, even though I graduated, I am still A RAMBLER AT HEART! I love being surrounded by the support of the Loyola Community. IPS specifically stood out to me because of how kind and helpful the people are within this office.  As someone who identifies as Christian, I feel like I was honestly led here because of how much I’d get to experience and share Christ’s love with others in the office.

Are you currently involved in other formal pursuits, other than IPS?        I have aspirations of returning for Graduate school with the next year or two in order to obtain my master’s in education.

What are some of your favorite Chicago-related pursuits?        Because I live just three train stops away, I enjoy spending a lot of my time exploring Chinatown. The area is full of so much culture and rich history. I enjoy visiting Chinatown square the most because of the abundance of places to eat and shop within the area. I would say that my three favorite places to eat there would be Joy Yee, Triple Crown and BonChon (which is where they actually serve Korean food).   There is are so many things to learn about Chinese culture/history just by spending a few hours in this area alone.

Finally, can you share a personal spiritual practice that continues to restore and re-energize your mind, body, heart and spirit?        As I mentioned before, I usually dance as a way of restoring and re-energizing my mind, body, heart and spirit. I also pray as a way of keeping myself grounded and constantly in communication with Christ.


Please make sure to welcome Diamond and Kevin when you next stop by the IPS office!

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For those interested in applying to IPS, go to

IPS Continues To Invest In Students By Awarding Merit-Based Scholarships

Over the last two years, Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) has awarded close to 40 merit-based scholarships to various students in an effort to continue its mission to facilitate the integrated ministerial development of diverse and dynamic leaders for creative, compassionate, and courageous service to church and society.

“Due to the generosity of many benefactors, we can provide these scholarships to our students so upon graduation they can make a meaningful difference unencumbered by high levels of debt. We believe the world needs our students,” said Brian Schmisek, director of Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. “These scholarships reflect the hope and promise we see in them and their bright futures.”

Every year, IPS administers a limited set of scholarship and grant funds.  IPS awards merit scholarships and ministry grants on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, embodiment of the IPS mission, and commitment to social justice.  Merit awards cover a portion of for-credit tuition for the duration of the academic year in a degree program at the institute. Some of the scholarships offered include:

Deacon WP Worden Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Richard C. and Rosemary K. Leach Endowed Scholarship
Blanche Marie Gallagher B. V. M. Endowed Scholarship
Joan G. & Leonard D. Richman Family Foundation Scholarship
Ginny Lynch Memorial Scholarship
Rachel (Randy) Gibbons Endowed Scholarship
Robert O’Gorman Endowed Scholarship

Richard Daly is in his 3rd year at IPS pursuing the M.A. in Pastoral Counseling.  When asked about how receiving an IPS scholarship has impacted his life, Richard, an ordained Episcopalian priest, says:

“This is my third year at IPS. I have taken 30 credit hours so far. The IPS scholarships and grants have greatly and tremendously impacted my life in that I do not have to work as much in my side jobs. I am helping my daughters with their loans and paying my tuition, too. Additionally, I also have more free time to volunteer in the community or serve at a parish. Without that aid, my time would be spent trying to rustle up tuition money through side jobs.”

“Next year, when I retire, the scholarships will help me even more. Though I am in a dialogue with my Bishop’s office about returning to parochial ministry, my studies at the IPS are of high priority to me. If I could not meet my financial obligations to the IPS, I know that without a doubt I would readily and easily give up on this program because I am going to be even further stretched financially in 2019.”

To learn more about IPS scholarships, go to


To learn more about IPS, go to
For those interested in applying to IPS, go to