Michael Swanson '96

July 24, 2013

Major
Sociology

Minor
Psychology

Residence
Chicago, Illinois

Graduation Year
1996

Why did you choose SJC?
I played baseball in high school and received a letter from SJC about possibly playing there, and my father is an alumnus, so I took a tour of the campus. I liked the closeness of it, and the way people communicated with each other. I had talked to students from large universities, and they talked about how, when in class, their teachers were broadcasted on a TV, and there wasn't any interaction. I didn't want that, and with the student/teacher ratio at SJC, I knew it had a lot to offer me. I also liked that, through the Core Program, I could start working in my major right away.

As a student, what were you involved in?
I acted as a Proxy Senator for the Student Senate in my freshman and sophomore years, and as a junior and senior, I was Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Seifert Hall. It was nice to have a say in the things that happened on campus. It was because of the Senate that crucifixes were displayed in each classroom of the Core Education Center. I was also a Special Reporter for the Rensselaer Republican (Rensselaer's daily newspaper) for a short time, and I played intramural football, basketball, and softball.

What are you doing now?
I am the Administrative Manager for the McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. The foundation is a public charity that was originally established in 1955 as a charitable trust upon the death of longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Col. Robert R. McCormick. He had no children, and so left his estate as a trust that has since evolved into a public charity. Currently, the foundation grants more than $1 million a year to non-profit agencies.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them that my job description is "other duties as assigned." I am currently overseeing an internal construction project here at the Foundation as we reconfigure our offices in the historic Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. We are also in the process of constructing a Freedom Museum set to open in the same building in the spring of 2006.

In addition to working with construction companies and architects, I work with our executives to see that our foundation supports various fundraising events and galas that Chicago non-profits organize. I also go on site visits with our program staff to non-profit agencies and get to see how their direct services help Chicago's homeless, hungry, and youth. Locally, the Foundation partners with the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs, as well as with the Chicago Tribune, CLTV, and WGN Radio and TV to ensure that we are making a positive impact on people's lives.

How did SJC prepare you for the "real world"?
The Core Program placed an emphasis on writing, and that's a large part of my job, whether it's for an organization or a colleague. Also, faculty members were very willing to help you succeed. People like Sr. Pat Robinson and Coach Bill Jennings set good examples for me. They took the time to get to know me personally and help me through my learning experiences. They were always available for advice - and I sure needed it. It all comes down to communication; because those professors were willing to communicate, I knew what was expected of me, and I was able to ask questions.

Now, I'm on the receiving end of questions, questions from organizations trying to receive funding, and on a daily basis, I'm educating non-profit organizations on how to receive it. I always try to remember the patience Sister Pat and Coach Jennings had with me. I try to keep the lines of communication open and treat everyone with that same tolerance.

Explore the Core
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  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

  • High Quality Academics

    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.

     

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.