2013 Loyola University Graduate
(Chicago, IL) On May 11, 2013, Francis Ogutu, a native of Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya, graduated from Loyola University Chicago
Michael R. Quinlan School of Business with a B.B.A. in Economics and Information Systems.
While graduation is always a special moment, it carries extra significance for Francis. Having lost his parents to AIDS, Francis was accepted to St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Nairobi—the world’s first high school for AIDS orphans. Called the “School of Hope,” St. Al’s is a Jesuit-model high school that offers a college-prep education to promising students who have lost one or both parents to the AIDS pandemic. Through great perseverance and a will to succeed, Francis excelled in his studies at St. Al’s and was named head of his class in 2008.
Francis was given the opportunity to attend Loyola University Chicago (LUC) when Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, Co-Founder and Chaplain of St. Al’s, was awarded an honorary degree from the university in 2009 and invited Francis to join him on that trip to Chicago to raise funds for St. Al’s. “Francis is such a fine example of the graduate we are seeking to achieve in Jesuit education and at St. Al’s in particular,” says Fr. Charlton. “He was passionate to build on and to live the education he had received, not just in terms of academics but also by being a man for others.” After discussions with Loyola, the university offered Francis a full scholarship including tuition, fees, and health insurance.
Ann Marie and Pat Brennan with Francis Ogutu
Thankfully, Ann Marie Brennan, the national president of Christian Life Community-USA
at the time, and her husband Pat, led a fundraising effort to ensure that all of Francis’ non-tuition expenses were covered. The Brennan’s recall, “Francis came to the US with little more than the clothes on his back and an incredibly strong desire to learn and work hard. He has truly excelled both personally and academically. We are really proud of Francis!”
Father Michael Garanzini, SJ, President of Loyola University Chicago, knew Francis well during his four years at LUC. “Francis has been a great addition to our student body,” says Fr. Garanzini. “He took to Loyola like anyone eager to apply his talents. We wish him every success as he starts his post-collegiate career.”
Francis with Florine Ndakuya, (friend and St. Al’s Graduate in 2007; Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a degree in Nursing on May 18, 2013) and Ann Greene (Jesuit Advancement Office)
A true leader, Francis was active in the International Student Club, African Student Alliance, Unified Student Government Association, and remains an active member of Delta Sigma Pi international business fraternity. It’s no surprise that Francis won the prestigious “People’s Choice Award” at the university’s annual “Mr. Rambler” Competition in 2011. “I am forever grateful to have had the extraordinary opportunity to receive a Jesuit education at Loyola. God has blessed me in so many ways and given me the resources that I can take and help others,” he
says. Francis served as a volunteer for LIFT Chicago, a resource center for low-income families, and did pro bono work for the Center for Economic Progress where he prepared tax statements for low-income families.
What’s next for Francis? Eager to find a job or internship in the US, he plans to use his skills in data research, analysis, and management. Ultimately, he will return to Kenya where he will seek a position in economic planning and development with the government.
By Ann Greene, Advancement Associate for the Chicago-Detroit Province. Ann has known and worked with Francis since he arrived in Chicago in 2009.
For more information, contact: Ann at the Province at 773-975-6924 or firstname.lastname@example.org