In Your Own Backyard

By Magazine Staff

In Cleveland, Loyola bumper stickers aren’t quite as common as pierogies.

So a few years ago when John Gilbert, ’00, saw one—a bumper sticker, that is—on the back of a car, he left his business card on the windshield. He was confident he would hear from the driver and, sure enough, he received a call from a Loyola student who was home on break. They traded names, numbers, and Loyola stories.

After 10 years of networking informally with Cleveland Hounds, Gilbert and his fellow Loyola alumni decided to formalize their casual happy hours and gatherings by applying for regional alumni chapter status. In May, the Loyola University Maryland Alumni Association Board of Directors voted to add Cleveland to the growing list of Loyola’s regional chapters in New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

“There’s going to be great growth here,” said Gilbert, now Cleveland alumni chapter president. “We might be few in numbers, but look at the quality of people and the amount of interest people have in volunteering and doing work and promoting the city of Cleveland.”

In the past, Loyola’s office of alumni relations had required that regional alumni chapters be located in a major metropolitan city that was home to at least 1,500 alumni—a requirement Cleveland couldn’t meet. Brian Oakes, director of alumni relations, challenged the policy. “I said, ‘This is a group of alumni who want to do something. If they want to engage alumni in that area, let’s use our resources to help make it happen.’”

The Alumni Association asks only that each chapter hold at least three events a year, one social, one service-oriented, and one offering a professional networking opportunity.

“Especially for a school like Loyola where it’s such an intimate experience when you’re there, you know everybody in your class, and you really want to stay in touch with people,” said Colin Mooney, ’97, president of the Philadelphia alumni chapter, one of the largest and most established chapters.

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