College has a way of transforming a young person’s life–a fact to which Robert Churchill, M.D. (’68) can attest. When Churchill attended Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois, he skipped a lot of classes and almost didn’t graduate. Growing up in a four-room, cold water flat in an impoverished area, Bob planned to work in the same factory as his father. He had no aspiration or intention of going to college until Sister Cornelia, one of his math teachers whose brother attended Loras, encouraged him to apply. Loras College was the only college that he applied to and as he tells it, “much to everyone’s surprise, I was accepted.” He paid his college expenses by working in a factory each summer.
While Bob will say that he hated high school, college proved to be a different story. He liked college, he says, because, “they treated you like an adult.” There were several teachers and staff at Loras who strongly influenced him – professors like Rev. Warren Nye, Rev. Msgr George Schulte, Joseph Kapler, Ph.D., John Bamrick, Ph.D. (’53), Rev. Eugene Kutsch (’47), Kenneth Kraus, Ph.D. (’57) and Edward Cawley, Ph.D.
He received the Faculty Wives’ Scholarship during his senior year and graduated fourth in his class. He later applied to and was accepted by four medical schools. He chose Loyola University Medical School in Chicago and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. He remained at Loyola to complete a residency and fellowship and was on the Loyola faculty from 1977 until 1987. He also served as department vice chair and director of two divisions. He was then appointed to the University of Missouri School of Medicine as department chair. He remained chair for 19 years, served as interim dean for two years and dean for four.
Since graduating, Bob has returned to campus to share his experience with the Pre-Med Club. Though retired since 2012, he serves on four boards and 14 committees, all nonprofits that help people in need or support senior education.
He states that without the financial assistance of the Faculty Wives’ Scholarship, “I could not afford to attend Loras.” Loras College gave Bob the tools and the opportunity to change the course of his life and to ultimately succeed at a high level in his chosen field. Bob adds, “Loras saved my life, and gave me a life and my career. Who would have guessed that a punk from the wrong side of the tracks could become the dean of a medical school?”
The mission and work of Loras College is the same today as when Bob attended. To help change the lives of current and future students, please contact Josh Boots (’04), associate vice president for institutional advancement, at 563.588.7329, or email@example.com.