Bill O’Toole, ’91, president and
CEO of Catholic Financial Life in Milwaukee, has a unique perspective on
Stritch’s role in developing meaningful partnerships throughout the state. He
earned his MBA from Stritch and recently worked with the University to bring
its business and management programs on site at Catholic Financial Life.
O’Toole reached out to Stritch to
develop the partnership with his organization, which provides financial
security to Catholic families through life insurance and annuities.
Several Catholic Financial Life
employees are now enrolled in the associate of science in business program
on-site at Catholic Financial Life. Plans are also in the works to bring the MBA
“For us, providing the
opportunity for our employees and associates to achieve their degree with a highly-respected,
accredited university is a terrific fit,” O’Toole said. “We made it as convenient
as possible because we know the impact that this education can have.”
The on-site programs also welcome
students from outside the organization.
None of O’Toole’s employees or
associates has received his or her Stritch diploma yet, but the impact of the
program has nonetheless been felt within the organization.
“Stritch’s curriculum has helped
them see the bigger picture, to think critically,” O’Toole said. “We’ve already
noticed changes in our people taking on more responsibility. We encourage as
many of our associates as are willing to enroll in the program."
There are other examples of how
the College connects the classroom experience with the broader community. The curriculum
is based on high-impact educational practices, including an emphasis on
internships, community-based learning, capstone courses and projects.
“That emphasis on community
business and economic needs is highly valued here,” O’Toole said. “People in
the program can connect and apply what they are learning immediately.”
In addition, all Stritch business
and management students are asked to plan and complete a community service
project as part of their academic experience, allowing them to apply practical
and strategic thinking in a manner that serves others across the state. This
underscores the University’s focus on Franciscan values and social responsibility.
“The community is truly our
classroom,” said Dr. Peter Holbrook, dean of the College. “Our graduates are
thoroughly prepared to step into the 21st century workforce with the skills
necessary to make a positive impact. Our goal is to prepare adaptive, ethical
graduates who will help businesses and communities achieve a balance of people,
planet and profit.”