Madyson Lira

Great Grads

Great Grads 2024: Madyson Lira’s supportive Bellarmine experience inspires her to pursue a career in higher education

Great Grads 2024

When Madyson Lira was 5 years old, she, her mother and her grandmother moved from Texas to her mom’s hometown of Elizabethtown, Ky. Her mother worked and took classes while waiting to be accepted by the nursing program at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
“I wasn’t aware of the struggles she faced—to make ends meet, to put food on the table—until I was much older, because I considered myself rich when it came to my family and their support,” Madyson said.
When it came time to look at colleges herself, Madyson said she fell in love with Bellarmine. 
“It wasn't like any other college I'd seen. It felt like home. Everyone—from the students to the professors—just seemed to genuinely care about each other. I remember walking around campus and feeling like I already belonged there. People were smiling, saying hi to each other, holding doors open—it sounds simple, but it made a big difference. It wasn't just about studying; it was about being part of a real community.”
In 2020. her senior year of high school, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“My mom was by that time a frontline nurse. We took all the precautions, but unfortunately, she was infected and became extremely ill, spending a month in the hospital,” she said. “My mom beat COVID, but she was out of work for four months. As a result, she depleted all the savings she had set aside for my future at Bellarmine. I thought my dream was over.” 
"The scholarships I received represented more than just financial support; they symbolized the belief that my dreams were worth pursuing."

Thanks to generous scholarships, Madyson was able to enroll at Bellarmine after all. “The scholarships I received were nothing short of life changing,” she said. “They represented more than just financial support; they symbolized the belief that my dreams were worth pursuing, regardless of the income of my family. They were a lifeline that not only alleviated the financial burden but also filled me with the confidence and motivation to excel.”

Madyson, who majored in Honors Communication with minors in Marketing and Anthropology, took full advantage of the many academic and social opportunities at Bellarmine, culminating in her election as president of the Student Government Association (SGA) for the 2023-24 school year.

“Overall, Bellarmine not only offered an exceptional education but also nurtured a supportive and inclusive community where I could grow both academically and personally,” she said. “It exceeded my expectations in every way.”

A favorite memory was the time that her study group for Introduction to Cultural Anthropology invited their professor, Dr. Frank Hutchins, to attend one of their study sessions.

“We thought it would be amusing and perhaps a bit daring to have our professor attend our study group, but we never expected him to actually show up,” she said. “On the day of the study session, as we gathered to review the course material, there he was. What followed was an unforgettable experience as Dr. Hutchins not only answered every question we had but also engaged us in thought-provoking discussions, expanding upon the concepts taught in class and sharing insights that went beyond the curriculum.

“His presence transformed what could have been a routine study session into a memorable learning opportunity, where we gained a deeper understanding of the subject matter and forged a stronger connection with our professor.”
In the fall, Madyson will attend Indiana University-Bloomington on a full scholarship to pursue a Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs. She said she wants to play a meaningful role in shaping the college experiences of other students.
“My experience at Bellarmine ignited a passion for the college journey and the profound impact it can have on individuals,” she said. “My career goal is clear: I aim to leverage my education and experiences to create inclusive and supportive campus communities where every student feels empowered to pursue their passions and achieve their goals. 
“Ultimately, my motivation lies in giving back to the educational community that has enriched my life so profoundly and contributing to the ongoing evolution of higher education as a force for positive change and social mobility.”

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Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.