Powered by Her Purpose: Alumna Receives Loyola University President’s Medallion Award

Jan 20, 2023 | Alumni Spotlight

Ruby Hernandez has been inspired by the world of business ever since her high school internships at Wintrust and Gewalt Hamilton Associates through Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program.

Now, the CRSM Class of ’21 grad juggles full-time studies at Arrupe College of Loyola University with an apprenticeship at Grant Thorton LLP, rotating through the accounting, analytics, and tax departments. Next fall she will attend Loyola University as a junior and accounting and analytics major, on her path to becoming an accountant.

Last year Ruby received the 2022 President’s Medallion from Loyola University. She also serves her fellow students as a student orientation leader and as a peer instructor for ACUNI (Arrupe’s first-year seminar). Ruby also participates in Arrupe’s Emerging Leaders Program, Career Club, Entrepreneurship Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Grant Thornton Apprenticeship Program.

“Ruby embodies what we hope for all our students at Arrupe College; she understands the value of hard work and demonstrates that value daily. In addition, Ruby exhibits authentic qualities: she is person-centered, compassionate in her dealings with others, and is committed to excellence, especially when it comes to her personal growth,” said Fr. Tom Neitzke, S.J., EdD, Dean of Arrupe College.

The President’s Medallion honors students from each of Loyola’s 14 colleges, schools and institutes who exemplify the meaning of being a true “Loyolan.”

“Exceeding not only in the classroom, but also in the world around them, these students add immeasurable value to society by answering the call for leadership, scholarship and service,” state’s Loyola’s web site. “It is through helping other that they empower their community, upholding integrity and reputation along the way.”

Ruby said: “I like Loyola because it is a Jesuit institution. I feel like it’s my destiny to be here because my grandfather’s aunt, Madre Nati, was the first Mexican woman to be sainted. There are three churches named for her in Mexico. I feel like she’s watching over me. It helps me spiritually.”

She says her call to service was kick-started as a student at CRSM.

“My experiences in high school and at Arrupe helped to be motivated, energized, and goal oriented,” said Ruby. Through CRSM’s work-study program she said: “I had to talk to people in the community and the workplace and I used to be a very shy and reserved person. They instilled in me a sense of confidence and empowerment during my formative years that I never would have thought was possible.”

Ruby’s older brother Rodrigo Hernandez, 23, also is a CRSM graduate. Class of ’18. He is the team manager working for the men’s soccer team at Loyola University Chicago. Additionally, Rodrigo also works for the Chicago Fire FC and has done work for Chivas de Guadalajara as well as the Mexican national team.

Her advice to CRSM students: “Don’t wait until your junior year to start working on your GPA. I wish I had realized how many resources CRSM had for me. But once I took school seriously, I have never veered from that path.”

For now, she’d focused on driving her dreams.

“I really want to learn everything I can and about business and figure accounting is the smartest place to be,” says Ruby, 19. “My goal is to come back to Waukegan and run a family business that in some way helps the community. But that is further down the line.”