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University of St. Francis boards as NHI partner for National LDZ

Posted: February 21, 2018 at 2:25 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The University of St. Francis, a Catholic liberal arts college in Joliet, Illinois, nearing its centenary celebration, has become the new host of the National Hispanic Institute’s National Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session. The inaugural program will be hosted at the school on June 24 through July 1, 2018, through a partnership allowing NHI to keep one of its flagship LDZ programs in the Chicago metro area.

Eric Wignall, Vice President of Admissions, Enrollment, and Marketing for the University of St. Francis, expressed excitement to be working with NHI, noting, “If we have the chance to have a group of highly motivated students to come on to our campus, we absolutely want to be part of that.” He also notes, regarding the LDZ program in particular, “There’s never been a better time to learn about the legislative process, to be involved, to figure out how to be a leader in the community.”

“This is a fantastic way for students to get their hands on what they’ll be needing to do 10 years from now, 15 years from now, when they lead and go into jobs,” he added. “It’s fantastic for us to be able to support students to do this, to learn how the legislative process works and doesn’t work, how to plan, how to talk in front of people, how to follow up and how to make things happen. That’s gigantic. They’re going to learn so much from that.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to put the National LDZ in a new landscape,” said NHI Senior Vice President Julio Cotto, who oversees the organization’s LDZ programs. “Joliet gives us an opportunity to be in a welcoming, safe, and growing community that is still within reach of the Chicago metropolis. However, beyond the gorgeous landscape and top notch facilities, the University of Saint Francis, as a ‘university with a mission,’ presents us with an environment designed for young people to explore their purpose beyond career, their values, their beliefs, and their overall contribution to the world. The University of Saint Francis is much more than a career certifying institution and that’s why the embrace and partnership goes beyond a practical and doable transaction. We look forward to seeing an even bigger class than last year which almost reached 220 students.”

Both Wignall and head of undergraduate admissions Eric Ruiz note that St. Francis—being a college campus within easy reach of Chicago but with its own distinct dynamic—will give National LDZ attendees a college campus experience they simple can’t get in the day-to-day world of high school.

“We have an attention to detail that we take to a next level,” Ruiz notes, pointing out that St. Francis attracts a great number of first-generation college students, which focuses them on creating an experience that keeps their students invested.

For more information about the National LDZ (and NHI’s other LDZ programs), visit the LDZ page on the NHI website.


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