Andrew Castle wanted to be more than a number when he entered college – he wanted to find a true campus family. He found just what he was looking for at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama.
During his second visit as a high school senior, the Lake Charles, Louisiana native noticed students at “The Hill” interacting in a way he didn’t see on the other campuses he toured.
“I saw how everyone knew each other by name. I saw professors talking to students outside of class,” Castle said. “I immediately knew that Spring Hill was the place for me. “After that tour, I’ve never looked back,” he said.
Castle’s major is Biology, pre-health. As a freshman, he initially struggled with managing his time. He overcame those challenges and pushed himself to become involved in campus life, joining a fraternity and later the Badger Connection team, which runs the College’s annual summer orientation.
Students at Spring Hill College have united during times of crisis this semester. After a student guide wrecked her car on her way to Badger Connection in August, students raised enough money to buy her a plane ticket home, Castle said.
When Hurricane Laura ravaged his home town on August 27, Castle said he received 25 messages from students, alumni and faculty asking about his family and offering to help. The Badger Connection team raised money for Castle to send home to help with repairs.
“My family is safe, but houses are ruined, property is damaged beyond repair, roads are closed and there’s no running water or electricity in the city,” Castle said. “I’m so thankful that I am a part of this team. They came together to help my family and me in one of the toughest times of our lives.”
Castle’s fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, raised nearly $1,500 for Feeding the Gulf Coast after students went home due to COVID-19 in March of 2020. “I am incredibly proud to have been a part of the fundraiser and to have helped people raise money for a good cause and have fun during some not-so-fun times.”
The commitment to each other and to the campus community is no accident. Spring Hill was founded as a Jesuit college in 1830, and has embraced the tradition of cura personalis, which means care for the whole person: Spiritually, socially and intellectually.
Castle wasn’t raised Catholic, but graduated with honors from St. Louis Catholic High School in 2019. He said when considering his college experience, he appreciated what Jesuit schools had to offer.
“I knew that Jesuit schools understood that you are so much more than just a student,” Castle said. “They know that you are a person, and they work to help you cultivate that person into the best possible form.”
The spirit of holistic education at Spring Hill guided Castle’s choice to pursue a career in medicine. He plans to go to go to medical school and become a pediatric oncologist.
“Getting to know people at Spring Hill has made me realize that I want to work with and help people for the rest of my life,” Castle said.
Through the Foley Center, which coordinates student support of nearly 50 nonprofit organizations in the Mobile community, Castle has volunteered as a triage nurse at Victory Health Partners, a clinic for people without health insurance.
“I get to do almost everything that a normal nurse gets to do, which is really special considering the fact that I’m only a sophomore in college,” he said. “I’m able to see patients and learn about their lives and backgrounds firsthand, allowing me to expand my cultural views.”
The unique volunteer opportunity will give him an advantage when it comes time to apply to medical school, Castle said.
At Spring Hill College, Castle said the personal relationships he’s forging with faculty, students and patients are shaping him as a whole person, just as the Jesuits intended with cura personalis.
“The degree is what comes at the end of your four years here, but the lessons that you learn and the personal growth that takes place can take you further than anything else in life.”