Xavier students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and a wide geographic range. Here are a few of the most non-traditional.
Robert Corritore represents a different twist to the idea of a non-traditional student. Corritore is a Native American, a member of the Umpqua band of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Western Oregon.
He mostly lives in San Francisco with his mother, but often visits the reservation, where his father now lives. His ties to the tribe are tight. When he was a newborn, he was given his Indian name, Keesch-Koo Parazoo, which means “Second Son,” at a naming celebration on the reservation.
Corritore, a junior majoring in economics, picked Xavier for a change of location and the business school. But he’s been most inspired by a theology class he took in Assisi, Italy, tracing the pilgrimages of St. Francis, an account of which he wrote for his tribal newspaper, Smoke Signals. He’s hoping to get an internship at the paper, which would allow him to live on the reservation and get closer to his heritage. “Being Native American is definitely something I’m very proud of.”
Images of Hawaii usually drum up dreamy visions of crunchy coconut and juicy pineapple rings. Not for Michael Louis. He dreams of home. And Spam.
“It’s a treat in Hawaii,” says Louis, one of three Hawaiians attending Xavier this year. “They fry it and put it on steamed rice. It’s actually pretty good. They usually wrap seaweed around it so it’s like sushi.”
The treat started during World War II when Spam was the only meat available on the island. But don’t think he’s unhappy at Xavier without Spam—or ocean breezes. He’s just adjusting to the culture shock of life in the chilly Midwest.
Louis chose Xavier because he was looking for a school on the mainland, preferably in the Midwest or on the East Coast, that offered a strong history program and Army ROTC. He found both at Xavier, arriving for the first time on campus last August for orientation.
Luckily, the Hawaiian candy and treats he brought along helped break the ice with his new classmates.
Northern Mariana Islands
As the only Xavier student from the Northern Mariana Islands, RyAnne Camacho gets the questions a lot: Where in the world are the Northern Mariana Islands, and how did she find Xavier? Answer: Northern Mariana is a group of 14 islands east of Japan that used to include Guam. It is a commonwealth of the U.S. The largest of the islands is Saipan, where Camacho lives, followed by Tinian and Rota. Camacho was looking for a Jesuit college somewhere other than the islands, and her family wanted her to experience the U.S. mainland. She’s undecided about her major but expects to go into some form of health care. “I was supposed to go to Chaminade in Hawaii but when I was making my deposit there, I found out I got into Xavier and that changed my mind because I didn’t want to be on another island.”