2020 PNC Student Achiever Award: Chris Harris

2020 PNC Student Achiever Award: Chris Harris

Arrupe sophomore Chris Harris (center) with (l to r) Steve Watson, Director of Athletics, Loyola University Chicago; Fr. Steve Katsouros, SJ, Founding Dean and Executive Director, Arrupe College; Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, President, Loyola University Chicago; and Barb Fahnstrom, Senior Vice President, PNC Bank.


Arrupe College sophomore Chris Harris was recognized at the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball game versus Southern Illinois as part of the PNC Student Achievers program. The program was designed to acknowledge deserving Loyola students who display well-rounded achievement and leadership in the classroom and in the community.

Harris will earn his Associates in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Arrupe College this spring. The treasurer of Arrupe's Black Student Union and a member of the group Black Men for Success, Harris has been an active community leader, serving as an orientation leader for the incoming freshman class.

How did you find out about Arrupe?

I was going through a really strenuous process of searching for schools and figuring out which one I wanted to go to. Originally I was really dead set on Illinois State, but because of financial issues, I found myself wondering “I don’t know where I can go” and it was really irritating. But then, Adam Shorter, a friend of my family, contacted us about Arrupe. I knew it was associated with Loyola but I didn’t know much else. So I thought, let’s give this school a chance.

What has been your favorite memory thus far?

Being an orientation leader. The whole process of going to orientation as a freshman with my orientation leader and then becoming one myself has been amazing. I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of new people and make friends through this program. Sometimes I plan out opportunities for my former students and me to hang out. It’s been great as an orientation leader to be involved in the community.

How would you describe Arrupe in one sentence?

Arrupe is community-driven.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering going to Arrupe?

Try not to compare yourself to other people. When I first came to Arrupe, I was around a lot of people who were really good at their studies. They always made the Dean’s list and I was always so close but never made it. It got to me because I tried so hard and couldn’t make it but all of my friends were…I thought, oh man, maybe I’m inadequate. I had a slight inferiority complex and it was impacting how I was working. What I realized was that my friends were doing so well but that I was also doing well, just in my own way. So, I would say find something you’re good at and instead of trying to be better than someone else, try to be better than you were yesterday.

How does it feel to be recognized with the PNC Student Achievers award?

I was very shocked. I thought there were a lot of other people who were more deserving to be honest. But it’s nice to be recognized. I was like really, me? I know I’m involved, but me? It’s still a little unbelievable but I’m really excited. I’m honored to receive this award.

What’s next for you?

After Arrupe, I’m applying to multiple colleges – Loyola’s definitely one of them. I’m going to purse a degree in kinesthesiology so I can become a physical therapist one day. So after I get my bachelor’s, I need another three years of graduate school to get a license. But then I can get my dream job.