We hosted a very nice Jazz Brunch this past Saturday for prospective students and families. If you missed it, don’t worry. You still have many chances to visit, including our annual President’s Open House for accepted students on March 28. In fact, if you’ve already been accepted, please save the date now!
At our brunch, one of our great students, Patrick Tennant, delivered a truly masterful speech. I have included some excerpts from it here for your information. Enjoy:
When I first began seriously looking at colleges in the fall of my junior year of high school I was only sure about two things. First, I knew that I did not want to go to a large university, where I could get lost in the crowd. Second, I knew I wanted to live on campus and, mostly, be on my own. With these two broad goals in mind I began my search with what was familiar to me at the time, the Jesuit education system. I went to Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, TX and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, so I thought it natural to at least consider continuing my education in the Jesuit tradition. This is how I came upon Loyola, and its high level of concordance with my first two goals led me to take a deeper look at the school that I now love.
I came in the spring of my junior year of high school to take a tour of Loyola and meet with an admissions counselor. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and was impressed by how well kept the campus was, as well as how friendly people were. The architectural theme was aesthetically pleasing, and I thought the campus was very well laid out. When I was searching for colleges the campus feel was very important to me, and as soon as I arrived at Loyola I knew that this was the campus feeling that I was looking for. I did not want a campus that was spread all over town, or to go to a commuter school with no real campus community and I could immediately tell that Loyola put lots of emphasis on that very same idea.
When I met with the admissions coordinator, I got an even better sense of what Loyola had to offer me, and how exactly I would fit in. At that point I had not decided what I wanted to major in, but my admissions counselor explained to me all the different choices that Loyola offered in terms of majors, and helped to me understand that getting a liberal arts education means not just studying in the field of your major, but instead learning in many areas of study in order to have a more well rounded education. The knowledge that I would have a chance to experience different fields of study before deciding on one to focus on made me feel better about being so incredibly undecided.
I had really only driven through the city of New Orleans before coming to visit Loyola, and I was well aware that the city I chose to attend college in would effect my college experience in a significant way, so after our tour of Loyola my Mom and I decided to explore New Orleans. I remember being impressed by how different New Orleans felt from Houston, and wondering if all cities felt as novel as this one did. The more schools (and cities) that I toured across the country, the more impressed I became with the utterly unique qualities of New Orleans. From the beautiful houses on St. Charles, to delicious lunch we had on Magazine St, and ending with a walk through the French Quarter, I don’t think I will ever forget how excited I was about the prospect of spending the next four years in this incredible city.
In the end I applied to 9 different colleges and universities, mostly in the southeastern United States, and was accepted to 8 of the 9. When it came time to choose I had three main criteria for my decision: The academics, the campus, and the city. As I said earlier, I was wildly impressed by both the Loyola campus and the city, and the school seemed to be able to academically prepare me for anything I could want to do, so the choice was rather easy in the end. The scholarship Loyola offered me, and a timely trip to Jazz fest only made the choice easier for me.
My goals in college were to earn an education that I could put to use for the rest of my life, to experience things that I never had before, and to enjoy myself. My experience of the academic side of life here at Loyola can be characterized by one word: commitment. I cannot imagine a more committed faculty than the faculty we have here at Loyola New Orleans. Every professor I have had at Loyola has been exceedingly willing to help me with any problem am I having inside or outside of their classroom. The commitment our faculty has to their students is unparalleled in anything I have seen or heard about other schools, and it is this level of caring that sets Loyola apart academically. Commitment also applies to the students though. No matter how brilliant our faculty, or how hard they try to pass on their knowledge, nothing can be gained without a commitment to learn from the students. The quality of an education is not determined solely by the qualifications of the educators, but also by the students desire to learn and the students here truly want to learn. I have found that the classes that I have gotten the most out of have been the ones I have been the most committed to, and to me this demonstrates the boundless opportunity that Loyola offers. This level of student commitment is the second characteristic that separates Loyola. The small class sizes, and generally amiable student population leads to an incredibly conducive learning environment where students help and motivate each other. The final commitment is that of the administration and staff who do everything they can to provide the students with the best possible situation in which to learn. That can mean the constant technological updates in class rooms, labs and studios, or providing us a faculty that is second to none. The administration has proven time and again that their top focus is the students and our academic pursuits.
Beginning at Loyola was a new experience for me on a lot of levels. I had lived in the same house in Houston for my entire life, and had only attended two schools through high school graduation, so a new city and a new school were new experiences for me in and of themselves. Rather than bother me though, this big change seemed to awaken me to all the opportunities available and spur me into action to take advantage of them. My time at Loyola has been characterized by perpetual motion, and this constant change has helped me to grow into the person that I am now proud to be. Since I began at Loyola I have lived in 4 different cities (not counting Houston), held 5 different jobs, and been active in organizations from Greek life to campus ministry and everything in between. From eating beignets and attending Mardi Gras balls, to living in Madrid and traveling around Europe each weekend, I am immensely grateful for the unique opportunities Loyola has provided for me. From joining my fraternity as a freshman, to working now as a resident assistant in the residence hall I lived in freshman year I can notice the positive changes in myself that all of my experiences have brought about.
My final goal for my time college was to enjoy myself, while simultaneously accomplishing my first two goals. The main reason I have enjoyed Loyola so much is the people. I cannot say if it is the easy going attitude of this city, or the perpetually personable employees of the school, or something beyond the tangible that I am not currently recognizing, but the people at this school (students, faculty and staff) are the most amicable and out going group of this size that I have ever seen. This campus has an effect on people that is hardly quantifiable, but spend a day here and you will certainly notice it, and if you spend four years here you will wonder why anyone would ever leave.
I have heard that the transition to graduate school is difficult for many people for any number of reasons, from lack of preparation to the intensity of focus that exists in graduate school, but I feel as though I am ready for the change. My time at Loyola has prepared me for this process in numerous ways, and my transition will certainly be easier because of the knowledge and skills I have gained here at Loyola. I feel that I have a very high quality undergraduate education that has prepared me through the knowledge I have gained, but also in the ability to learn that is taught at this critical thinking university. I also think Loyola has prepared me as a whole individual, in that I have a broader and experienced view of the world thanks to my time here. I believe this will help me to make the personal adjustments necessary to succeed in a new place. My time at Loyola has been more successful than I ever could have hoped coming out of high school, and I have become a person that I am extremely proud to be thanks to the unmatched opportunities available here, as well as the unbelievable relationships I have developed.