We asked John Sparber, a recent recipient of the Spiritan Division Student of the Year Award, what went into his decision to attend Duquesne as a member of the Division. Here is what he had to say:

What did you think when you were admitted as a GSD student? Did you have any reservations or questions?

Like many, my college search left me with only a few colleges that I really wanted to attend. My decision ended up coming down to Duquesne or Miami of Ohio. Through Miami of Ohio, I would have been directly admitted and would have begun college at the same time as everyone else. Through Duquesne I would have to complete a summer program known as the Spiritan Division which would have me at school 6 weeks early for a summer semester. Not knowing exactly what lay ahead with either college I began looking into specifics based on programs provided through each college and opportunities – Duquesne won out. 

Though I ended up choosing Duquesne I was skeptical of the summer semester that would follow as I was not overly excited about losing my last 6 weeks of summer. From my perspective I had no idea of what was to come but was eager to begin my college experience.


What were the biggest takeaways from the GSD experience?

Though I had my doubts going into the summer semester through the GSD my outlook on losing 6 weeks of summer quickly changed. Immediately upon arriving on campus I was greeted by former GSD students who were ready to help in any way possible to make the transition less drastic. During the summer semester I was able to grasp an understanding of how Duquesne’s campus and community worked. While in the summer program I was able to take 6 credits through which I was better able to understand where I fit in within the Duquesne community as well as expanding on my study skills and time management skills. 


What did it mean for you to be acknowledged with the Spiritan Division Student of the Year award?

For me, being named the GSD Student of the Year was a very humbling moment. As a sophomore, it was reassuring to know that I am on the right path and that my efforts in both academics and extracurricular activities have been paying off. Being recognized in this way was thrilling and satisfying since it's easy to feel forgotten or unappreciated, especially in a school with such a sizable and varied student body. 

But this honor is not only for me. It's also evidence of the encouraging and caring atmosphere fostered by our instructors, staff, and other students in the GSD. They have always given me guidance, motivation, and encouragement, all of which have been crucial to my success.

Additionally, I am proud to share this award with my family, who have been by my side throughout my academic career and have been there for me through both the highs and lows.

Above all, receiving this honor has heightened my feeling of responsibility. It's confirmation that I can make a difference and improve my community.

But it also serves as a reminder that I still have more to contribute, learn, and accomplish. I'm hoping that this motivation will help me go forward as I continue to strive to be the best student and person I can be.


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Departments, Centers, and Offices


July 27, 2023