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Loyola University Chicago: A Brief History and Campus Tour

Posted January 31, 2024

Rogers Park ApartmentsLocated on the far north end of Chicago, Loyola University is a vibrant and bustling campus that attracts students from far and wide. With a large, sprawling campus, gorgeous architecture, and a rich history, the popularity of Loyola is no surprise to anyone. Founded in 1870, the university has evolved into an incredible academic institution. Read along to discover some of Loyola’s history, and let us paint a picture of Loyola’s diverse campus.

A Brief History

Loyola has grown extensively over the last century and is a beloved Chicago academic institution. According to theculturetrip.com, “Loyola University Chicago had humble beginnings. It was founded in 1870 by Jesuits as St. Ignatius College, where present-day St. Ignatius College Prep is located. It became Loyola in 1909 and moved to its current location alongside Lake Michigan in the Rogers Park neighborhood in 1912.”  Today, Loyola educates more than 16,000 students.

It is known worldwide for “being the only college in Illinois to win a NCAA basketball championship title in 1963” and “for the men’s volleyball team and their back-to-back NCAA titles in 2014 and 2015.”  A former member of that team went on to win a bronze medal with the USA national team at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Today, Loyola boasts five additional campuses beyond the flagship campus, bringing their commitment to academic excellence to people worldwide. 

Within the last 20 years, the school has seen more growth than ever. Loyola “has become a leader in nationally recognized sustainability practices[…] Lakeshore Campus was ranked as the fourth greenest college in America by the Sierra Club in 2014 thanks to the new Institute of Environmental Sustainability building that houses aquaponics facilities, a geothermal facility, and extensive environmental research labs”. 

Loyola’s history runs deep within Chicago, bringing new technologies and new neighbors to the city. Along with the academic offerings, the campus is a huge draw for prospective students, and with beautiful buildings preserved over the last 100 years, the vintage charm of the campus shines through. 

Notable Buildings 

Cudahy Library

Right on the lakefront of campus, you will find Cudahy, the favorite library of Loyola students. With a vast collection of books and little spots to tuck in and study, this library is a peaceful haven for those seeking a quiet escape from the city’s hustle. With incredible views and a relaxing environment, this spot is a hallmark of Loyola’s campus.

Lewis Library

With a modern feel, the open-concept Lewis Library was built to foster group work and collaboration. With many reservable rooms, this is the perfect spot for you and your group to get together and study. Their website tells us that the library is home to the “criminal justice, economics, education, and social work collections.” and that “the Lewis physical collections comprise more than 250,000 volumes and 1,500 periodical subscriptions; online resources include hundreds of research databases, thousands of e-books, and over 35,000 journal titles.” Modern and huge, this library is located along a busy Chicago street where you can watch city life pass by as you study.  

The Mundelein College Skyscraper

Loyola has excellent programs in arts and performance as well as other creative avenues. A beloved part of campus is the Mundelein College Skyscraper. Not always a center for performing arts, it’s been a staple on the north side of Chicago for almost 100 years. According to LUC.edu – “In 1930, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) opened the ornate metalwork doors of the Mundelein College Skyscraper building to students for the first time. In 1980, the steel and concrete building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its Art Deco design and its unique place in history as the only self-contained modern skyscraper constructed for the express purpose of educating women. […] In 2008, the building was restored and is now home to Loyola’s Mundelein Center for Fine and Performing Arts.”

Madonna della Strada Chapel, Loyola University

Probably one of the most well-known buildings on Loyola’s campus is their famous Madonna della Strada Chapel. Luc.edu says that this iconic chapel is “Loyola University Chicago’s main chapel. Unlike diocesan parishes, Madonna della Strada Chapel is operated and maintained by the University, and it functions as an apostolic outreach of the Jesuits on campus, serving a diverse and transient congregation”. Renovated between 2006 and 2007, the Chapel is now equipped with more modern technology while keeping its gorgeous Art Deco style alive. It’s also known for its incredible stained glass windows with their own unique history that can be found here


Becovic has apartments near Loyola Chicago that are perfect for anyone needing to be on Loyola University campus! Bring your roommates, family, or choose to live on your own – we offer a diverse array of communities and apartments in Rogers Park, Edgewater and Eastlake Terrace, all well within 2 miles from campus center. Surrounded by excellent dining and shopping options, and all within an easy commute to school whether you use convenient public transportation, cycle, or saunter. Explore Becovic’s Loyola apartments below and spend less time commuting to campus!  

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