For the 70th and final time, the Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., gave his State of the University address.
During the speech, Garanzini discussed additions to academics and facilities at Loyola, and said the university is in fair and good shape.
“I think what’s exciting about Loyola is that we’re still inventing and growing,” said Garanzini.
He noted two big signs of Loyola’s growth are the new Arrupe College and the engineering program, which are both on track to start this fall.
Arrupe College has already received more than 400 applications, but Garanzini said they only want to start with 50 to 70 students, so they can provide adequate services.
“It’s kind of like academic boot camp,” Garanzini said, referring to the planned program for Arrupe, which will include longer classes to help students learn how to juggle a full-time schedule.
The engineering program will initially start with three areas — environmental engineering, biomedical engineering and computer-software engineering — and Garanzini said it will be able to grow.
“[It’s] time for us to get an engineering school to complement lots of programs like business, environmental sciences and health sciences,” Garanzini said. “Those are already our strengths and we’re going to build on that.”
A third program addressed is the new collaboration with Loyola Andalucia, a Jesuit university in Sevilla, Spain that will allow students to get a dual degree recognized in both the United States and Europe.
Students from Loyola Andalucia and Loyola Chicago will spend a semester on each other’s campuses and a semester in Rome. The program is targeted for those who want to work abroad in Europe.
In addition to the new academic programs, the university is also working on new facilities, including the new Schreiber Center at the Water Tower Campus. The Quinlan School of Business will open the doors to its new building next semester, and an inauguration celebration will be held in September.
Garanzini said there are no new building plans for the Lake Shore Campus, but this doesn’t mean Loyola will be construction free. Two other campuses will go through significant changes: Loyola University Medical Center and the John Felice Rome Center. In February 2016, the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois, is set to get a new Center for Translational Research.
“It’s large. It’s complex. It’s the longest and most expensive building, we’ve ever built, because its full of labs, but its going to kick up our ability to do research,” Garanzini said.
The university also completed plans for a news residence hall and chapel at the Rome Center to provide better accommodations. Garanzini also touched on the university’s finances, enrollment rates and fundraising, but mainly focused on Loyola’s plan for the next five years, which revolves around social justice.
“Social justice is the reason why we have a good chance to do something significant. We understand that one’s faith and reason are important components of true justice,” he said.
The five-year plan includes advancing the social justice mission through faculty development, promoting multi-disciplinary collaboration to address societal challenges and engaging through partnerships in local communities.
So what does this all mean?
The initiatives all revolve around students’ success, but Garanzini said no change can be made without departments working together.
“If you want to help people that live in neighborhoods with violence, if you want to look at where there are food deserts, those are all social justice questions,” Garanzini said. “We certainly have the brain power here to contribute, but it does require that people work together across disciplines. You can’t solve any one of those problems through any one lens.”
His State of the University address also recognized new leaders at Loyola, including Athletic Director Steve Watson, Vice President for HR and Chief Diversity Officer Winnifred Williams and the newly appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences the Rev. Thomas J. Regan, S.J. Garanzini mentioned that the search for both the new provost of the Health Sciences Division and the dean of the Quinlan School of Business are near completion.
The next search for a leader will be for a new president, and in regard to his resignation, Garanzini answered why he decided to step down.
“My father always told me, ‘never stay too long at the party,’” he said. “I have a lot of other stuff that is piling up on the international level, so I think it’s time for someone else to lead the day-to-day operation here.”