January 11, 2017 — Ten percent of the 115th US Congress sworn in last Tuesday are Jesuit educated. Among the 535 members, 56 are alumni/ae of Jesuit colleges and universities: 12 in the Senate and 44 in the House of Representatives. This represents a notable increase from the 114th US Congress.
Of the 56 alumni/ae in the 115th US Congress, 10 were newly elected in 2016. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD, Georgetown University) was elected to the Senate after serving seven terms in the House of Representatives, succeeding fellow Jesuit alum Barbara Mikulski (D-MD, Loyola University Maryland). He is joined by fellow freshman Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV, Gonzaga University), the first Latina elected to the Senate. In the House, Stephanie Murphy (D-FL, Georgetown) is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, while fellow Georgetown alumna Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House.
In the Senate, Richard Durbin (D-IL, Georgetown) serves as minority whip; in the House, Steny Hoyer (D-MD, Georgetown) continues to serve as minority whip. Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA, College of the Holy Cross) and Juan Vargas (D-CA, Fordham University) remain co-leaders of the Congressional Friends of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Caucus in the House. Additionally, though not an elected member, Gonzaga University alumnus Jesuit Fr. Patrick Conroy continues his service as House chaplain.
There are currently 13 Jesuit institutions represented by alumni/ae in the US Congress. Georgetown University has the most alumni/ae with a total of 28, followed by Boston College and Fordham University, tied with 7 each. The College of the Holy Cross has three alumni, while Saint Peter’s University, Santa Clara University, and the University of Detroit Mercy all have two alumni/ae represented. The remaining schools with alumni/ae in Congress are Creighton University, Gonzaga University, Loyola University Chicago, Marquette University, Saint Joseph’s University, and Wheeling Jesuit University.
In addition to the 56 alumni/ae from Jesuit colleges and universities who are serving in the 115th Congress, there are many alumni/ae of Jesuit high schools in office. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), the 2016 Democrat candidate for vice president of the United States, is a graduate of Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo.
“A hallmark of Jesuit education is service to others, and we are proud to see that commitment represented by the alumni of Jesuit institutions who serve in the House and Senate,” said AJCU President, Jesuit Fr. Michael J. Sheeran. “We appreciate their leadership and look forward to working with them during the 115th Congress.”