The Gift of a Lifetime

$5 million gift will add scholarships, name Alumni House in honor of Loyola’s president

By Rita Buettner  |  Photos by Howard Korn and Larry Canner

As a high school senior at Loyola Blakefield, Dwayne Thomas knew he wanted to go to medical school after college. When Loyola University Maryland offered him a scholarship, he realized how that could financially open the door for medical school later.

He decided to attend Loyola.

Today, as a junior, Thomas has a double major in biology and Spanish, is involved with ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, and Native American) Services and the Center for Community Service and Justice, and he is a tour guide for the undergraduate admission office. And last year he studied abroad for four months in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

Thomas and the other Cochran scholars can thank Patricia and John Cochran III, ’73, who established the scholarship fund that supported their education.

The Cochrans, whose daughter Kate graduated from Loyola in 2000, surprised guests at the Dec. 7 kick-off event for the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign when Ken Boehl, ’76, announced that the Cochrans were making a $5 million gift to increase their scholarship fund. As part of their gift, the Cochrans also named the Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Alumni House in honor of Loyola’s present.

Thomas and Jerrod Ridgway, ’15, had the opportunity to meet Cochran to thank him in person when he toured the Linnane Alumni House for the first time Feb. 11.

“It meant a lot to meet Mr. Cochran because it lets him know that he was generously giving to a student who works hard, has determination, and thrives in and outside of the classroom setting,” Thomas said afterward. “It was amazing to get to meet him touring around the new Alumni House that Loyola has acquired through his generous giving, too. It was overall one of my greatest experiences here at Loyola so far.”

Ridgway also welcomed the opportunity to thank Cochran, whose scholarship makes it possible for him to attend Loyola.

It meant a lot to meet Mr. Cochran and show my appreciation in person for what he has done for me,” he said. “He is a success and a model that many, including myself, aspire to emulate in the future. I definitely felt inspired and motivated after my meeting with him.”

A finance major with a minor in information systems, Ridgway was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and his family lives in Baltimore. He also graduated from Loyola Blakefield.

“I really wanted to attend a university that was good, but at the same time did not impose a financial burden on my family,” Ridgway explained. “My scholarship was important in my decision making.”

While touring the house for the first time since its renovation, Cochran spoke with Ridgway and Thomas about their experiences at Loyola. He also shared with them how much he and his wife like to support scholarships at Loyola.

“It has always been about scholarships for Pat and me. We want to create the opportunity that I had for other young people,” said Cochran.

“And, as a Loyola graduate, I can also appreciate the value of having an Alumni House, especially at an institution where the alumni have such deep, lasting affection for their alma mater.”

Although the students enjoyed seeing the house, which alumni are welcome to visit when they come to campus, they were most enthusiastic about spending time with a man whose gift has made their Loyola education possible.

“The benefit that I have gained from my Loyola education I cannot even put into words,” said Ridgway.

“I have learned much about my major but many other topics as well. That has really put me a step ahead of the rest in the professional world.”

Read more about how Loyola’s Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign will afford students a Jesuit educational experience.

Ariel Genovese, ’14, contributed to this story.

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