Duhawk Dozen | Jacob Heidenreich (’21)

2021 graduate Jacob Heidenreich radiates joy in all that he does. In describing all the highs, lows, and changes that have occurred over the past 365 days, Jake says he is “sitting and resting in a season of gratitude.” He brings a humble, yet confident, air to a new position on-campus as he returns home to Loras College as the newest member of the Spiritual Life team. “I am standing on the shoulders of titans like Debbie Gross (’08) and Michael Bagby,” Jake starts, “and I will be supporting the spiritual identities of all of our students.” A task that Jake does not take lightly. Not only is Jake back on campus working with some of the mentors that he looked up to as a student, but he’s preparing to become a mentor for current and future Duhawks as well.

Immediately after graduating, Jake did not imagine that he’d be back at Loras just one year later. “I always knew it wasn’t a goodbye, but more of a see you later. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be stepping into this role, especially not this quickly.” A part of that surprise comes from the fact that less than a week and a half prior to starting at Loras, Jake was completing his year in California at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School. Joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 2021, Jake served as the Assistant Campus Minister. “Just the privilege of being in the role can’t be described, it’s priceless.” Focusing on the four pillars of spirituality, social justice, community, and simple living, Jake lived with six other Jesuit volunteers who were working for other non-profits around the San Jose area. The people he lived with, and the community members at the high school helped solidify his easy transition from Dubuque, Iowa to San Jose, California.

In reflecting on his time spent transitioning from high school to college, Dubuque to California, and finally California back to Loras – Jake recalls his personal mantra “poco a poco, little by little.” This mentality started at a young age when his parents helped instill strong, Catholic, principles in his daily life. “Growing up, my parents helped start my Catholic identity, and that continued with countless people at Loras.” His strong faith background and equally strong work ethic stem from a litany of jobs Jake held growing up. From cemetery grounds keeping, corn detasseling, leading retreats, and ministry, and assisting with a multitude of faith-based communities, Jake recalls a “priceless indescribable blessing from God” in every job.

Jake’s biggest takeaway from his professional career thus far is making sure that we are allowing ourselves to encounter people where they are at in their lives. He left us with one important point of advice, and words to live by: “Let’s grow together and let’s support one another in our highs and lows.”