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For Alum Leslie Simonyi, Mundelein College was Just the Beginning

Leslie SimonyiThis year marks the centennial year for adult education at Loyola and we are celebrating the anniversary by gathering stories of our alumni who want to share their Loyola experience, and how it has transformed their lives. SCPS changed its name a number of times but it has consistently served adult students.

The following bio came from Leslie Simonyi who graduated from Mundelein College with a BS in Psychology.

I was not a traditional student– I entered night school while being an employee in the IT division of Loyola and I had just turned 53. But after a few months of going to night classes, I decided to go for it—all the way. From January, 1986 through May, 1990, I earned a BS in Psychology (Cum Laude) and then continued on and in January, 1992, I received an MA in Educational Psychology.

Why did I do this at the ripe ages between 53 and 59? Partly, because after the first psychology courses, taught by Dr. Davis (current Director of Psychology at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood) motivated me to go the rest of the way. Also, the dean of the University College was helpful and arranged for me to take a series of nine CLEP tests in subjects in which I had a lot of knowledge, so sitting in class would have been useless. This allowed me to earn 27 credit hours within 12 months (the subjects were history, anthropology, and English). All of those tests earned me seven A’s and two C’s. I took as many courses as I was allowed at night, every semester for five and a half years. After all, I had wasted 30 years already, so there was no reason to slow down.

The day I presented and defended my thesis to Drs. Harding, Sinacore, and Miller, I was successful. I’ll always remember when Dr. Harding congratulated me, knowing that I wanted to teach at the Medical Center at night. She told me to see her secretary and tell her which night I wanted to teach Educational Psychology! I could have just floated up to the tenth floor without needing an elevator! In 1992, when I was assigned that course to teach— it was to be in the very same room in which, just over five years prior, I attended my first ever college class at Loyola!

I taught for the next seven years until my retirement, virtually every semester at night at the Medical Center.

Thanks to Loyola, I realized a new part-time career. Just before retirement, I applied to various colleges in the area (June, 1999), and within a week, I received several call-backs. I interviewed and accepted a teaching position at College of DuPage, near my home. I have been teaching there ever since and am looking forward to teaching two courses in spring, 2014. Each semester at College of DuPage, I have  taught about two to four courses; these courses have tremendously helped me to be useful at age 81, still mentally alert—and financially much more secure than I would have been if I lived only on Social Security and a modest retirement pension. Thanks to Loyola for the opportunity, as well as the many challenging and helpful professors that planted the seed from which my fruitfulness grew.

If you would like to share your story as an alum, please email it to scps@luc.edu. We would love to hear from you.