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Kahlil D’Acquisto writing his own story at Stritch

September 21, 2020

Kahlil D’Acquisto has found a learning environment and campus community at Cardinal Stritch University that not only supports his creativity, but is helping him thrive.

The junior, who was born in Cedarburg and grew up in Milwaukee, is a graduate of Kradwell School and a writing major with a focus on creative writing and screenplay writing.

“From the first time I stepped foot on campus, it felt like I belonged,” shared Kahlil. “Everyone was so kind, encouraging and welcoming. I imagined college would be impersonal and overwhelming, but I've never felt that way at Stritch. Everyone has been so accommodating. The faculty and staff are here to help you succeed.

“One of the things I appreciate most about Stritch is that the Franciscan values we talk about are genuine,” Kahlil continued. “I feel like Stritch faculty, staff and students truly live those values. Stritch is very inclusive and diverse. It's been great having international students in so many classes. And I've found the school to be very supportive of LGBT+ people, especially transgender people.”

Kahlil credits Stritch’s multitude of writing courses for the improvement and expansion of his work. He has broadened his experience by taking an art class and learning video editing.

Kahlil has established a strong foundation for his pursuit of a writing career in his first two years at Stritch. He has participated in campus-wide readings coordinated by the English Department, submitted his work to national competitions, and had an original play that addressed immigration produced by the University’s Theater Department in the “Stritch Shorts” series.

The move to online instruction (for the Spring 2020 semester) as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic didn’t deter Kahlil.

“I still had access to my professors and other resources to help me be successful. Every faculty member who I've interacted with or had for a class has helped me succeed.” Khalil singled out Dave Riordan, an assistant professor of English, for being particularly encouraging and helpful.

“Kahlil is such a positive presence at Stritch,” said Riordan. “His intellectual curiosity and creative courage contribute so much to each class he takes part in, and his personal warmth, generosity, and humor really help build community everywhere he goes. He’s just a special guy. He has helped teach me what it means to be strong, fearless and compassionate all at once.”

A residential student during his sophomore year, Kahlil hopes to return to the residence halls on Stritch’s suburban Milwaukee campus next spring after completing a semester of online courses in the fall.

“Life at Stritch has been welcoming,” said Kahlil. “Although I'm not big into socializing, no matter what time of day or night someone is always doing something somewhere so I never truly feel alone. I love to walk around the campus, usually at night, to take in the different environment when the campus is quiet.”

Before he graduates from Stritch, Kahlil hopes to complete a screenplay, either a working rough draft or a final version. No matter what the future holds for Kahlil D’Acquisto, it’s sure to be a compelling story worth following.

Kathleen Hohl, Senior Director of University Communications