Student Impact: Connor Loughry
For alumnus Connor Loughry (BS19), Eastern Michigan University was not his first college choice coming out of high school. Looking back on it now, however, he couldn’t imagine a different path.
“I love Eastern very much. I’m very proud to be an Eagle,” says Connor.
The 22 year-old from Pinckney, Mich., is currently an Undergraduate Admissions Officer for Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. Connor honed his love of student engagement working in the Admissions Office at EMU. Wherever his journey takes him, Connor’s love for Eastern is always present.
Like many students coming out of high school and looking toward the future, Connor had a small handful of schools in mind and admits that EMU was not originally at the top of that list. Connor says that he fell in love with the campus during a guided admissions tour.
“I had taken a campus tour and I loved it,” says Connor. “I’ll admit that at first it wasn’t my dream school. I originally wanted to go out of state, and when you’re in high school you fantasize about college and ivy-covered buildings but you also don’t think about the price tag that comes along with that.”
Knowing that he’d be responsible for paying his way through college, Connor’s decision to attend EMU was heavily influenced by the cost of tuition. He was fortunate to have been awarded the Education First Opportunity Scholarship (EFOS) which would cover 100 percent of his tuition costs as a freshman, though he would still be responsible for housing and other out-of-pocket costs such as food. Starting his sophomore year, his scholarship was converted to the Emerald Scholarship and he had to take on part-time work to make ends meet.
EMU prides itself on inclusivity and the power of community, and that fact was not lost on Connor after his first year.
“There is a really great student body that is largely blue-collar. Most of my friends and people I had networked with were financially dependent on student loans and scholarships – like me,” Connor says. “You know, because of that, (the students) really value the education they’re receiving at Eastern. It seems like a cohort of people who really care about their education because they haven’t always had life paved in an easy way for them.”
Sharing that common thread amongst his friends and colleagues, Connor says he was able to create strong and lasting bonds with people.
“It was a great way to form strong relationships. That was one of the things I really loved about the school,” he says.
Connor made it through school by way of scholarships and working to support himself. By March of his senior year, he was ready to graduate! Due to a mix-up in academic advising, however, Connor unexpectedly had to take one summer class to qualify for graduation in the spring. Having not yet paid off his previous winter tuition bill, Connor wasn’t able to register for the summer class and time was running out.
“When I learned about (the extra class), I was in the Admissions Office and I remember really freaking out about it. I talked about it with my boss,” Connor says. “Then I went upstairs to meet with a group of students ready to tour the campus, and by the time I returned to my desk I already had an email from Financial Aid telling me I had been awarded the GEM Scholarship to cover the $1,800 remaining on my bill so I could register for the new class!”
Connor learned later that his coworker had sent a note to the Financial Aid office about his situation.
“Eastern is such a special place because people look out for you here. People genuinely care about you here,” says Connor. “I got a scholarship literally out of nowhere because I needed help.”