Loyola relocates plans for Tom Benson Jesuit Center


Students walk past the sign for the Tom Benson Jesuit Center in the center of campus on March 4. Loyola is relocating the plans for the center from the place where the sign sits to the corner of Monroe Hall near the large oak tree. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

Rose Wagner


After years of signs for The Tom Benson Jesuit Center looming in the center of campus, the university has finally decided on a location, and timeline for the new building.

A decade ago, Tom and Gayle Benson donated $8 million for Loyola to create the project, a faith-focused building and new home for the Ignatius Chapel.

The university is currently searching for architects for the building with the hopes that it will be open to the community in January 2021. But the planned location for the project has changed, from the center of campus to the corner of Monroe Hall near the tall oak trees.

The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., said the relocation was due in part to a desire to keep a clean view across campus as well as changes to the center’s original plans.

“There are a number of variables, one being a change in the size of the facility. Originally, we had about a 30,000 square-foot facility that we were planning for, and we determined that we actually only needed a 7,000 square-foot facility that would be the Benson Center Chapel and some meeting, gathering space,” Daffron said.

Senior Ben Beningo was assigned as the student representative to the project and he says seeing Loyola and community members dedicate a new space to the future of the Catholic faith has inspired him.

“I would say it’s pretty powerful, in a way,” Beningo said.

Beningo and Daffron say the university is focused on finding ways to promote inclusivity of students and different faiths even within what is a definitively Catholic space

“We’re trying to balance both. To me, that’s exciting because the kind of conversation that we have already had illustrates that we are the kind of community that can come together,” Daffron said.