Benedictine University at Mesa opens its second fall semester today to a student body that has more than doubled.
Some 200 students are attending classes, meeting with faculty and staff — including a brand new associate vice president for Student Life — plus renewing and forming friendships. Select students and staff members have a personal connection to BenU’s main campus in Lisle, Ill and can help with cohesiveness.
Alonzo Gonzalez, a business administration major, and Laura Sanchez, a communications arts major, spent part of the summer at BenU’s main campus through the Mesa campus’s Jo Wilson Leadership Institute. It offers training for high-achieving students that’s aimed at creating community and social leaders.
“The main thing that sticks out to me is how we’re starting from the ground up, and being able to go to a school where I can play a part in creating a legacy and forming some of the traditions for future students,” Gonzalez said.
Some of those traditions start this year with the arrival of the “Redhawks,” BenU@Mesa’s mascot. Competitive men’s and women’s cross country, golf, tennis and volleyball debut this fall.
Though new to Mesa, Kevin Broeckling and Steve Schafer know a thing or two about Benedictine campus life. Each have held titles at BenU’s two Illinois campuses. Broeckling, the new associate vice president for Student Life, spent 13 years donning various hats at BenU’s Springfield, Ill. campus.
“His proven leadership will be instrumental as we seek to bring and build upon the successes he led at the Springfield branch campus to our burgeoning student life at our Mesa branch campus,” said Nancy West Stoecker, vice president for operations in Mesa.
Immediate plans include expanding and strengthening student life via activities, career-focused opportunities through the student Success Center and exploring new academic programs.
Schafer spent two years at BenU’s main campus working with men’s basketball and serving as athletic recruiting coordinator. He led the team to a collegiate conference title and a bid to a division championship. Schafer will oversee sports programming and work to debut six new teams next academic year.