Lunch Bunch: Reminiscing at Jerry’s with Thomas Scheye, Ph.D.

“Pursuit of Happiness” Alumni and Thomas Scheye, Ph.D., meet to exchange memories

By Magazine Staff  |  Photo by Cory Donovan

The English professor created the class as an introduction to culture—a chance for students to experience concerts, plays, and museums. For the students who enrolled in Tom Scheye’s January Term class, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” the main attraction was the three-day trip to New York City.

When four of Scheye’s former students— John Guthrie, ’79; Craig Hayward, ’83, MBA ’91;
Dan McKew, ’79, MBA ’83; and Ed Powers, ’79—meet him for one of their sometimes-annual lunches, they fall into an easy banter about the memories from that 1976 trip that grew into a decades-long friendship with Scheye.

Students stayed in the Empire Hotel, saw the city from the top of the World Trade Center, watched a Broadway play, and visited the Pan Am Building. They also had one free night to experience New York on their own.

“Our room became the central place for what 18-year-olds would do,” said Guthrie, speaking of
a time when the drinking age was 18. When complaints about that room started coming to the hotel desk, Scheye and another professor knocked on the students’ door.

As Scheye entered, he could see a student—Jim Pontier, ’79—sleeping in a rollaway bed like a hot dog in a bun. “He had a foot out the one side, a head out the other,” said Guthrie.

The professors weren’t impressed when they opened the curtains and stacks of beer cans cascaded down. As they exchanged anecdotes over lunch at Jerry’s Belvedere one recent afternoon, Powers remembers Scheye saying, “Gentlemen, if I hear any more complaints about this room, you’ll be walking home.”

Hayward was on a different January Term trip three years later, but the memories are all the same, said Hayward, who met Guthrie when they had children in a class at Towson’s Immaculate Conception School. One day they fell into conversation about Scheye’s January class, and Guthrie started including Hayward in the lunches with Scheye.

“The really nice thing about staying at Loyola this long is watching people you knew as 18-year-olds become vaguely responsible adults,” Scheye said.

And they have. Powers recently left Black & Decker to take a position at Medifast. Hayward is president of Indusco/J. Henry Holland, Guthrie is a consultant whose work takes him around the world, and McKew is president of CFG Community Bank.

The four tease Scheye about his reputation as a tough grader. He still teaches one course a semester. He laughs with his former students—then shares his own story. One day a student came into his classroom and handed him a huge poster with a capital A on it. “Why are you giving this to me?” Scheye asked. “He said, ‘Because I’m not sure you know what this looks like.’”

Today the beer at Jerry’s doesn’t cost 50 cents anymore. And that cheeseburger McKew remembers costing $1.25 is $5.75.

The stories and laughs from 30 years ago? Those, at least, will never change.

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1 Comment

  • Posted by John Guthrie '79 | April 13, 2012

    Thanks for doing a story on one of Loyola’s most influential teachers. There are no doubt hundreds of alumni that could share stories of the profound impact that Dr. Scheye has had on their lives.

    While I am sure he is most proud of his impact as a teacher, it should not be forgotten that Tom Scheye, as Provost during the 1980’s and 1990’s, was a key architect and driver in elevating Loyola College from its position as a small Jesuit school little known outside of Baltimore to becoming nationally recognized as a top rated private university.

    His accomplishment was such that he was able to build a substantial consulting practice with colleges and universities around the country.

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