By Matthew Zacher ’18
After in-state universities, a large segment of Brophy’s graduating class will find themselves at Jesuit Universities all across the U.S. in the fall.
Like Brophy, all Jesuit institutions value the central concepts of “men for others,” “cura personalis,” and the “grad at grad,” so naturally, Brophy students find a welcoming home at other Jesuit institutions.
Last year, 80 seniors applied to Santa Clara, 46 to Gonzaga, 31 to Creighton, and 29 to Loyola Marymount University.
The total of applicants at those four prominent Jesuit schools alone totals nearly 190, well over half of the graduating class. Clearly, Brophy students have a significant attraction to continuing their Jesuit formation at the next level.
Recent Brophy graduate Ryan Meza ’17 is currently attending Gonzaga University, and he said he absolutely loves it.
“Gonzaga is my dream school,” he said. “It being Jesuit was a big deal for me because I wanted to continue practicing the Jesuit ideals and values.”
Fr. Juan Pablo Marufo Del Toro, S.J. attended Gonzaga, Santa Clara, and Loyola Chicago on his path to becoming a Jesuit, and he said that as far as values go, there is no difference between Brophy and Jesuit Universities.
“What helps students from Brophy do well at these universities are the shared ideas of faith, love, and social justice,” he said. “There are also retreats and many Jesuit teachers.”
At Brophy, the Jesuit identity is at the center of our daily lives, and Fr. Del Toro said that at a university, these values can be somewhat diminished because of the vast amount of other activities and responsibilities students may have on campus.
“It may not feel as prominent and as strong,” he said. “Given the reduced number of Jesuits, we just cannot be in every department and every event at a university. But the universities do their best. Santa Clara has immersion trips, and Loyola Chicago has this ‘Jesuit Jam,’ which is a basketball game between the Basketball team and the Jesuits.”
Meza was involved in Student Council during his time at Brophy, and he said his classmates elected him class president at Gonzaga this September. He has sought out other kinds of leadership roles as well.
“I am most proud of how hard I have tried to get involved at Gonzaga as soon as I got on campus,” he said. “I ran for the Gonzaga Student Body Association, but I also tried out for the hip hop crew and am one of the student section leaders.”
Mr. Gil Martinez, formerly part of the Society of Jesus, spent several years working at Notre Dame, which is not a Jesuit institution, but Mr. Martinez said students from Jesuit high schools did well at the university.
“When I worked at Notre Dame it became apparent to me that some of the most active and involved students, some of the key leaders, came from Jesuit high schools,” he said. “There was a point where the Leprechaun, the Drum Major, and the Student Body President all came from Jesuit high schools.”
He said that these students fared so well because of the strong community that exists at Jesuit schools across the country.
“A Jesuit university is a natural progression for Brophy students,” he said. “Jesuit universities are very unlike high schools in that they are not in your face in terms of religion and everything else. But, there is still that spirit, the Ignatian ethos, at the university level. It is an extension of the community aspect at the high school level, and that is very comforting for our students.”
Meza said that Gonzaga’s campus community is not very different from Brophy’s.
“The atmosphere and energy you feel as soon as you walk outside is so warm and fun,” he said. “I feel as if I have one step up on some people, because Brophy has given me opportunities to find who I am before diving into the next level.”