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Marie and Brian Fitzpatrick: Sharing their love of the JFRC
Marie and Brian Fitzpatrick fell in love with the John Felice Rome Center, though not at the JFRC—that would come years later. Now they're planning to give back to the place that's so important to both of them.
Marie (JFRC Spring '88, BS '89), a Chicagoan from a large family, worked her way through college as a commuter student at Loyola. She worked in the University's financial aid office and the office of the bursar, eventually saving up enough to go to the JFRC.
"There were plenty of students in Rome for whom it was not a big deal to be there," says Marie. "But it meant a lot to me that I was able to save enough money to go. The experience of living in Rome opened my eyes to what the world could be."
After graduating with a degree in psychology, Marie worked in Loyola's financial aid office until 1997. She now works for the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid. "Finishing college changed my life," she says. "If other students can have that experience, it can change their lives as well."
Marie owes more than just a college education to financial aid. It was while she was working in the financial aid office at Loyola that she met another JFRC alum and fellow staffer. In October 1994, Brian Fitzpatrick (AB '92, JFRC '90-'91, staff '92-'94) had just returned from a stint as an SLA at the JFRC and was working part-time as recruiter for the Rome Center. Marie and Brian met, became friends, and eventually began dating. They have now been married for ten years.
Brian, a New Orleans native, planned to pursue a PhD in Classics. But his time at the JFRC—one year as a student and two as an SLA—helped change that. "I worked for John Felice, and he and everyone there had a profound effect on my life," says Brian. "They taught me a lot of understanding and humility, and gave me a different view of what I wanted from my career."
He left Loyola in 1996 and started "fiddling around with computer programs." After several years of success in Chicago's technology sector, he is now an engineering manager at Google's Chicago office and was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40" this year. He and Marie bought and restored a century-old house in 2004, which is where they now live.
They also established a revocable living trust that includes the JFRC as a beneficiary. "Certainly we have provisions for taking care of our family members, but the Rome Center was definitely in the forefront of our minds," Brian says. "I owe the Rome Center and John Felice more than I could ever repay."
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