Tickets to see the Dalai Lama speak at Loyola University Chicago sold out within 24 hours of going on sale.
Many Loyola students bought the tickets because they were moved by the Dalai Lama’s mission of spirituality and peace.
But some Loyola students admit they bought tickets not knowing who the Dalai Lama is, or what made him such a significant person.
His Holiness, the XVI Dalai Lama, is scheduled to present two lectures at Loyola on Thursday, April 26: one morning lecture sponsored by the Chicago’s TIBET center, and an afternoon event at Loyola’s Gentile Arena exclusively for current Loyola students, faculty, staff, leadership and alumni.
Many Loyola students know that His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama. Tibetans believe the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of his previous predecessors. At the age of 16, he was fully recognized as the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.
“He is a holy leader of Tibet,” said Brigitte Sheerin, 20, a sophomore journalism major. “That much I know for sure, and getting to see him is a once in a lifetime deal.”
In the last 20 years, the Dalai Lama has set up cultural, educational, and religious institutions which have helped to preserve the Tibetan identity and its rich heritage. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, and has been widely recognized for his message of peace, compassion, inter-religious understanding, and non-violence.
“His views on compassion, peace, and unity in Tibet have been a real inspiration to me,” said Jessie Duncan, 21, a senior psychology major. “I believe he is a strong leader and truly cares about people’s well being.”
The Dalai Lama has written more than 72 books and has traveled to more than 62 countries to meet with presidents, prime ministers and other crowned rulers, spreading his message of peace and spirituality to others.
His fame is universal, and many Loyola students have heard his name and recognize his picture but have no clue why he is viewed as an important person.
“I mean, I have heard of the Dalai Lama, but I have no idea what he does.” said Don Ralik, 19, a freshman computer science major. “People seem really excited about him coming here, so he must be important, I guess.”
On the other hand, a lot of students are genuinely excited to go see the Dalai Lama speak because of their interest in his views on world issues.
“He’s an important person when it comes to his non-violent tactics,” said Lexy Deutch, 22, a junior marketing major. “I think he could be a role model to students at any school, and I’m interested to see if he comments on the wars in the Middle East.”
Although seeing the Dalai Lama speak at Loyola is an exciting endeavor for some students, others don’t seem to think it’s that important at all.
“I just don’t understand what all the hype is about,” said Tom Cornell, 21, a junior public relations major. “I don’t want to pay upwards of 20y bucks to go see him when it should be free.”
Overall, most students are interested in the issues the Dalai Lama has helped to resolve and think it’s a unique opportunity to hear him speak.
“Even if nothing else, it will be cool to tell my friends from home that I saw the Dalai Lama in person,” said Caroline Hausinberg, 20, a political science major. “Tickets didn’t sell out in 24 hours for nothing you know? It’s pretty apparent Loyola students care about him coming here.”