By Brian Priddis
The Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., President of Loyola University Chicago, focused heavily on the future and strategies to put Loyola in the nationally spotlight during Thursday’s State of the University address.
Garanzini gave his Fall 2012 State of the University address to about 200 faculty, staff and students in Kasbeer Hall at the school’s Water Tower Campus.
“We are grateful for the stability and the health of the institution, I truly believe that we are blessed,” Garanzini said.
Garanzini talked about the Loyola moving up in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, from 119 last year, to 106 this year.
Budget and finances were his next topic, and he talked enthusiastically about how the university is going in the right direction.
“We have a healthy budget,” Garanzini said. “We budget to pay for debt, so we budget for full depreciation.”
This segued into the president explaining a report that was published by Deloitte that asked: where is higher education today, and what are its challenges?
Budget and funding were No. 1 on the list. Garanzini assured that Loyola’s finances are balanced and fiscally conservative, but shared his worry about less future income.
“The luxuries we’ve known, are all going to slow down a little more dramatically than we’ve seen,” Garanzini said.
He then moved onto enrollment and financial aid policies, showing his passion for students who are forced to borrow for their Loyola educations.
“It’s hard to see a kid graduate with $60,000 worth of debt,” Garanzini said. “We need to reward talent and merit aid more, to make sure that the kids who are smart and capable, can come here without a huge debt following him.”
Students in attendance expressed interest in what Garanzini had to say.
“He addressed a lot of important issues like raising costs and making sure students have a better opportunity to get a job after graduation,” said Tyler Langan, 22, a senior journalism major. “I would have liked to hear more on addressing student financial woes and job resources.”
Garanzini concluded the event with confidence, but asked for everyone’s help in keeping Loyola on track to becoming a better school.
“So when you pray, thank God that we are at a place that has these luxuries and tell him that we continue to need God’s support because it is getting a little difficult to keep this all going,” Garanzini said.