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Mr. Jim Kilroy stays optimistic during challenging and unusual school year

Mr.+Jim+Kilroy+%28left%29+greets+and+checks+students+in+as+they+step+onto+campus+each+morning.+%28Photo+by+Mak+Krivka%29
Mr. Jim Kilroy (left) greets and checks students in as they step onto campus each morning. (Photo by Mak Krivka)

In difficult and trying times for students and faculty at Gonzaga,  no one is more uplifting and positive than the dean of students, Mr. Jim Kilroy. In a normal year, students would find Mr. Kilroy in his office next to student services or walking the campus and helping students with all types of situations. He would also be at sports games, notably football and basketball, monitoring and controlling the raucous Gonzaga student section. Mr. Kilroy tries to learn each kid’s name and make everyone feel comfortable. If a student ever needs anything, Mr. Kilroy always makes time to listen and help understand the student’s problem.

Gonzaga has put great effort into making the hybrid model a success. This model involves three cohorts separated alphabetically with one cohort coming in each day with the other two cohorts doing school virtually. It has been tough especially in the first semester when students were not coming in as much, but Gonzaga has offered free food alongside other incentives in an effort to bring more kids on campus each day. Mr. Kilroy shared how his day has changed with this new schedule and what he wants to see going forward. 

I’m actually enjoying working check-in the mornings, which is new because of Covid — seeing every student come down I street and saying good morning,” Mr. Kilroy said. 

All students come through the same entry and show Mr. Kilroy or another faculty member a health slip that they filled out that morning.

“I want us to continue to make the most out of this unusual time together. No one has experienced school like this in the history of Gonzaga, and I think we are doing things well. Trust me, it’s not perfect, but compared to other schools, I believe in everything we’ve tried to make this stretch as valuable as possible for you guys, the students,” he said. 

Mr. Kilroy is known for his optimism, and he continues to show that optimism even though times are extremely tough; he still believes the Gonzaga community can grow and take on this challenge together. That goes for the students who are at home and can easily be tempted to submit dishonest work or be distracted during Zoom class. Mr. Kilroy wants to see students learn and grow not only get a solid grade.

“I want to see our students make good decisions when it comes to their work. Every shortcut under the sun exists when virtual learning is in play, and while it’s tough, Gonzaga students absolutely have what it takes to submit honest work at all times — focusing on learning versus grades and results is what needs to drive everyone to the end,” Mr. Kilroy said.

Lastly, he talked about the importance of students coming in when it is their cohort’s day to come on campus. 

“For starters, I believe it’s important for one’s mental health to get out of the house and have a routine during the week. If there are no extenuating circumstances that require you to stay home, I think it’s worth it given the added benefits of seeing other students in the hall, at lunch and before and after school,” Mr. Kilroy said. 

Mr. Kilroy wants the seniors to be prepared for college like they would be in normal times, and he has some worries about the work habits that are so easy to develop in this time.

“I worry that our seniors’ transition to college will be very difficult with respect to motivation if they ride this out to next fall without developing that routine again. Plus, my day is that much more interesting if we actually have students in the building. Days have never felt longer when we are strictly virtual and you are not here,” he said.

Even in challenging times, Mr. Kilroy brings positivity to the Gonzaga community, and Gonzaga needs students to have school spirit and share in that brotherhood. Mr. Kilroy is one of many great faculty members Gonzaga has, but he exemplifies what it means to be a Gonzaga man. 

“Every time I see Mr. Kilroy there is always a smile on his face as he says hi, and he is extremely easy to talk to if you ever need anything,” said Charlie Baisley, senior.

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  • C

    Carol CorganMar 5, 2021 at 6:49 am

    Connor–This is a fine article on Mr. Kilroy. You capture his desire to see students grow as scholars and young men. I can attest to how appreciated he is by faculty members.

    Reply
  • L

    Leslie KeiserMar 5, 2021 at 6:19 am

    It’s all about the students for Mr. Jim Kilroy. Thanks for this uplifting article.

    Reply
  • P

    Pam ValeirasMar 4, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    “…no one is more uplifting and positive than the dean of students, Mr. Jim Kilroy.” This is so true! He is such an asset to the Gonzaga community. Your article does a great job of describing Mr. Kilroy. Enjoyed reading it.

    Reply