From Whiz Kid to Dream Builder

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By Carl Luty
Thomas Kuegler

It all started with a lawn mower.

Like many high school students, Thomas Kuegler, ’94, decided to pick up some extra cash by mowing neighbor’s lawns. In his senior year at Kenwood High in Essex, when he received his acceptance letter from West Point, he sold his enterprise—for a quarter of a million dollars.

As a student at the Academy, Kuegler realized that he missed the entrepreneurial, free-enterprise environment and transferred to Loyola, where he majored in economics. In his Loyola graduation year—the pre-Google, pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter era—he and a friend founded an Internet company that grew to become one of the world’s largest online ad networks.

Now Kuegler is working to bolster the entrepreneurial environment at Loyola. Thanks to his efforts, Loyola now has licenses for $500,000 worth of software that will make collaboration among students—and between students and faculty—easier and more efficient. But more exciting to Kuegler than this one-time gift is what he sees as his long-term contribution to Loyola. “My goal, now and in the future, is to give Loyola students the environment they need to build their dreams.”

Kuegler is creating that environment by giving students the start-up capital, the expert guidance, and the professional resources they need to launch their own businesses. “Students bring me their business models,” said Kuegler, “and if analysis shows they have viability, we move forward.”

Thanks to Kuegler’s generosity, three Loyola students will soon stand as Internet-based business owners. They will stand, not behind a lawnmower, but beside a benefactor and mentor, an alumnus whose dedication to his alma mater is helping them build their dreams.

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