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Economics and Impact: A Professor’s Story

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Loreto Peter Alonzi has been more than just a professor. He is an advisor, researcher and Father Samuel. For 13 years, Alonzi has taught economics at Dominican and relates the subject to real world situations, especially today’s economic situation.

Alonzi grew up in Wilmette, Ill. with four sisters and two brothers. He became interested in economics at the age of seven when his grandfather, a businessman and a master wood carver at a furniture factory, asked him an economical question.

“My grandfather asked me, ‘How come Mickey Mantle’ the baseball player, ‘makes a higher income for hitting a ball than me?’” Alonzi said that eventually sparked an interest in economics.

In college, Alonzi majored in economics at Loyola University in Chicago where he received his bachelor’s. At one point during his undergraduate years, while taking an accounting course, he learned that economics was for sure his path.

“I received 75 out of 100 on a test,” he said, “I was off by one number on a question and I learned that accounting is a matter of precision. In economics, you can be a little off on a graph because you can make a dot (on a graph) a little bigger.”

Alonzi also said he resonates how economists approached and analyzed problems and that is what he would rather do.

After getting his bachelor’s, Alonzi wanted to take more economics classes to understand the subject better. He attended the University of Iowa for both his master’s and doctorate.

“In graduate school, I preferred the academic side and fell in love with it,” he said.

After earning his graduate degrees, Alonzi moved to Bowling Green, Ohio where he taught economics for two years. After gaining an interest in “Future Markets”, he moved back to Chicago and taught classes at his alma mater, Loyola University, for the next six years. While teaching at Loyola, he led education seminars at the Chicago Board of Trade, the world’s oldest futures and options exchange.

They hired him to run an education program where he trained over 1,300 students each year about the rules and regulations of the company, set up a curriculum and hired faculty within the Commodities Institute, and worked with various university professors from Stanford, New York University, Vanderbilt and more.

Alonzi then decided to look for academic professions. One day, he sent a letter to Dominican about open positions, but three days later he was notified that there were no needs at the time.

However, fate stepped in when he received a call three days later. He had been called to come for an interview, courtesy of future colleague Daniel Condon who talked to the dean of students to give him a chance after seeing him teach at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Since then, Alonzi has been teaching economics at Dominican University for 13 years and enjoys it because every day is not the same.

“I can read, think, impact and work with young students,” Alonzi said about being a professor.

He said, “the best things about Dominican University are working with students and colleagues and being a part of a hard-working community with a sense of who we are as creatures of God.”

“He is excellent and very helpful,” economics professor Kathleen Odell said about her colleague. “He’s a good person to talk to, a good speaker, and students like him.”

“He’s a helpful professor,” said Rebecca Mezzich, a sophomore who has taken one of his classes. “He’s very approachable, cares about his students and passionate about economics.”

What makes him passionate about economics is how it relates to everyday life such as today’s budget deficits, supply and demand, and markets.

In his graduate capstone class in the Brennan School of Business, he assigns students to collaborate on a project in which they have to use the business skills they have learned and create a huge benefit concert.

“The students use their marketing, accounting and business skills to make the benefit happen,” he said.

The result of the concert was the raising money in which all the proceeds went to Grabia Torun Poland orphanage. The money was used to renovate the facility with access to elevators for orphans who are handicapped or disabled in any way.

As part of the Dominican University community, Professor Alonzi has used his economical skills and passion in a service-oriented environment. As for the subject of economics and in life.

“What we know is so much less than what we don’t know.”

He currently resides in Glenview with his wife of 35 years. They have three sons with the first getting his doctorate in physics, the second currently taking a year of volunteer work and the youngest studying for his master’s in education at Dominican.

Jenna Ramiro, Staff Writer

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