Jesuit Father Stephen Katsouros, Arrupe College’s first dean and executive director, is preparing for the school to open on August 17, 2015.

This fall, Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago opens its doors and a world of possibilities for students seeking an affordable, two-year program designed to maximize academic success.

Loyola University Chicago Opens World’s First Jesuit Community College
By Jeremy Langford

"Come hear about a first for Jesuits, Chicago, the world,” read an invitation sent out last fall by Fr. Stephen Katsouros, SJ, the dean and executive director of the new Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. “The Jesuits—recognized throughout history as leaders in education—are at it again,” the message continued, “with a new model to address one of society’s greatest needs . . . offering deserving, low-income students an innovative, two-year education that has been carefully designed to maximize academic success.” 

Since sending the invitation, Fr. Katsouros has been busy. “Our focus,” said the seasoned educator, “has been on hiring faculty and staff, recruiting students, and preparing for the school’s opening this coming August.” Arrupe College will be located at Loyola University’s Water Tower campus in downtown Chicago. 

Currently Fr. Katsouros is hiring associate deans and working with them to hire six full-time professors and four part-time professors. Full-time faculty also will serve as academic advisors, meeting with students at least twice per month to help them navigate higher education and ensure their success. Also, at least one counselor will work with students, who will commute to school, by organizing them into learning communities and helping them manage their studies, jobs, and everyday life issues. Arrupe is actively working to place students with businesses, especially in the heart of the city, that need reliable part-time employees. 

Prior to leading Arrupe College, Fr. Katsouros served as director of the Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education, was president of Loyola School in New York City, and co-founded a Nativity-model middle school in Harlem. In addition to experience as a service program director, dean of students, and development director, Fr. Katsouros holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Columbia University Teachers College. He was ordained in 1998. 

“This school is really the result of Loyola University’s president, Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ,” said Fr. Katsouros. “His vision is to make Jesuit education, particularly higher education, accessible to people who otherwise would be unable to afford it or unable to imagine themselves earning a college degree.” The school also represents Loyola’s commitment to Arrupe College LogoPresident Barack Obama’s call for institutions of higher education, elected officials, and community leaders to make new commitments to increase college opportunity. Loyola’s board of trustees approved the plans last June. 

In his fall 2014 State of the University address, Fr. Garanzini, who has led Loyola University since 2001 and has served as secretary of higher education for the Jesuits worldwide since 2011, called Arrupe College a “game changer.” 

Arrupe College has committed to helping 2,275 students earn associate’s degrees by 2025. 

“Father Garanzini’s great generosity in making Loyola’s infrastructure and resources available to Arrupe provides many benefits,” said Fr. Katsouros. “From the outset, we are able to help students graduate debt free by setting the annual tuition at $14,000 and then whittling it down to around $2,000 through a $2,500 scholarship from Loyola and Pell and Illinois MAP grants. Also, by sharing James F. Maguire, SJ Hall with Loyola’s School of Social Work, we are able to provide our students, and even their families, with additional support while providing master’s of social work (MSW) students with the in-service training they require.” Arrupe will have a dedicated social worker who will supervise the MSW students. The school is also partnering with Loyola’s School of Education to chronicle Arrupe’s growth as a model that can be replicated at other Jesuit universities and beyond. 

To help ensure that students graduate, Arrupe will use a block schedule composed of five, eight-week periods for each year.

of the program. Each block is flexible enough to allow students to take two classes for six credits while working and receiving additional help such as tutoring. Between blocks and over the summer, students will participate in special programs from financial literacy to leadership training to retreats.

Potential students eagerly wait in line for one of Arrupe College’s informational sessions. Father Michael Garanzini, SJ, president of Loyola University Chicago, calls Arrupe a “game changer” for people who otherwise would be unable to afford or imagine themselves earning a college degree. The school has committed to helping 2,275 students earn associate’s degrees by 2025

Potential students eagerly wait in line for one of Arrupe College’s informational sessions. Father Michael Garanzini, SJ, president of Loyola University Chicago, calls Arrupe a “game changer” for people who otherwise would be unable to afford or imagine themselves earning a college degree. The school has committed to helping 2,275 students earn associate’s degrees by 2025. 

Arrupe is reaching out to a wide range of Chicago Catholic, charter, and public high schools, including Cristo Rey schools, which may serve as feeders. “We are working with academic counselors at these schools to help us identify students who have the grit, perseverance, and resilience to do a two-year, hard-charging, academically demanding traditional Jesuit liberal arts education,” explained Fr. Katsouros. For students who want to continue their education, Arrupe will serve as a feeder for Loyola University and other four-year institutions. 

The school is named after Very Rev. Pedro Arrupe, a Basque Jesuit who, as Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983, emphasized a “faith that does justice.” For Fr. Arrupe, the Jesuit mission is not only to promote justice, but to “educate for justice.” “Today,” he said in a now-famous address delivered in Spain on the Feast of Saint Ignatius in 1973 to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe, “our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for others” who will participate “in the promotion of justice and the liberation of the oppressed.” 

“Arrupe College will be an answer to the hopes and prayers of many high school students who have difficulty seeing a way into higher education because of an inability to pay for college,” Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province, explained. “This school is an example of the creativity of Jesuit institutions at our best, going to the ‘frontiers’ of our society where the needs are greatest—in this case, socio-economic and educational frontiers. As with all our Jesuit schools, we hope to form graduates who will help make the world a better place.”

Read more about Arrupe College at

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