Forever Grateful to be a Duhawk

The Loras community played an integral role in Cesar Vega’s (’21) college experience – from his initial search through his final semester.

When describing his selection process, Vega said he liked Loras, but was anxious about the cost. “I called the Financial Planning Office to see if there was any way Loras could provide more financial aid because I wanted to come to Loras, but I couldn’t afford too much money that was out of pocket,” he said.

Cesar Vega (’21)

In addition to his Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Scholarship, the Financial Planning Office was able to work with Vega to get an additional $1,000 for his first year.

“I thought, ‘OK, Loras, you’ve got my back’ and I went for it,” Vega said.

During the 2020 spring semester, Vega, who was on schedule to graduate in May, learned he has bipolar disorder. He eventually took a medical withdrawal for the semester after working with the financial planning office to determine his options for when he would want to return.

“My mental health is very important to me,” he said. “The best idea for me was to step back, so that’s what I did and I was able to keep all my scholarships for this final semester.”

Vega returned home to Chicago and worked with his father in a tortilla factory a year, saving money to help pay for his final semester. He returned to Loras for this semester. Since arriving back in Dubuque, Vega has been working about 30 hours per week as an intern at Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque and taking one political science class.

“I have so much support at Loras,” he said. He cited the help he has received from the Loras Counseling Center; Colleen (Galligan) Kuhl (’81, MA ’01), his advisor in the Breitbach program; and Mindy Roberts, a board-certified family psychiatric nurse practitioner in Dubuque.

He is forever grateful to be a Duhawk.

“Last year, seeing how many people cared about me and how many people really wanted to help improve my health reinforced that my decision to be a Duhawk was the right one,” he said. “A small school like Loras can support you in many ways. I’ve been really lucky to have so many connections on campus. I saw firsthand how the Loras community supports its students and really helps build you up to the person you want to be.”

To help support student success, contact Chris Steinbach (MBA ’20) at (563) 588-7987 or

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).