Editor's Blog

An Ode to Chocolate-Covered Anything

Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 3:58 pm   |   0 Comments

Today, Dec. 16, is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

If you didn’t know, now you do.

Join us in honoring this sweet day with a poem…

An Ode to Chocolate-Covered Anything

Is it me, or does everything taste better when it’s chocolate-covered?
Dipped or coated in a candy shell—or better: completely smothered.

Strawberries, popcorn, almonds, Oreos, spicy jalapeno poppers,

Apples, marshmallows, bacon, peanuts, ants and green grasshoppers;

Pretzels and espresso beans—there’s something for everyone!
The fact is everything tastes better when it and chocolate become one.

Have you ever feasted on chocolate-covered dill pickles?
If crickets turn your stomach, you can play it safe with brickle.

The first step is to pick your chocolate: milk, dark, or white,
Then melt it on the stovetop, and dip to your heart’s delight!

Anything and everything tastes better chocolate-covered—
Which is why today we celebrate one of the best food groups ever discovered.

Treat yourself or a chocolate-lover near you with a chocolate-covered snack from Greyhound-owned, Baltimore-based Glarus Chocolatier.

2014: Going, going, almost gone

Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 at 4:47 pm   |   0 Comments

Why is it that when the month of December rolls around, the passage of time seems surreal?

As we unpack familiar Christmas ornaments and trim the tree, as we update our Christmas card list with friends’ addresses and hunt for family cookie recipes that we still haven’t committed to memory, so often we stop during this time of year and think, ‘Wow, the past 12 months have come and gone in the blink of an eye.’

This happens every year.

But I have to tell you that this year in particular has flown by.

My first day at Loyola University Maryland was a freezing cold day in December 2013. I met some of my future colleagues and was welcomed with a Christmas ornament (now on my tree at home) and a candy cane pen (sitting in the mug on my desk as I type).

The first article I wrote for Loyola magazine was published on January 6.

That all seems like it was years ago.

And maybe if I share with you a snapshot of some of the highlights of last 12 months, you’ll understand why…

January brought Baltimore snow, freezing rain, and more snow. It was the perfect time to get myself up to speed with all that had been going on at Loyola University Maryland since I had last been acquainted.

The Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Alumni House (above) opened its doors, and I got a first look at the beautifully restored house on Cold Spring Lane that serves as a gathering place for alumni and a location for alumni events. It also houses the offices of alumni relations, advancement events, and donor relations.

In February Loyola named a new vice president of academic affairs. Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., who came to Loyola from the College of the Holy Cross, assumed her role in July.

Loyola celebrated the one-year anniversary of the installation of Pope Francis in March, with the “Pope’s” tour around campusCardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., visited the Evergreen campus to lead a panel discussion on “The Francis Factor” featuring Rev. Thomas Rosica, Helen Alvaré, Rev. Matthew Malone, S.J., and Kerry Robinson.

In April, I had the pleasure of speaking with Miss America Nina Davuluri before her keynote lecture for Asian and Pacific Islander Awareness Month. (A key takeaway from our interview: Never go to bed still wearing makeup.)

And I saw my first issue of Loyola magazine go to press, wherein we celebrated the University’s Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign and all the Bright Minds and Bold Hearts that make up the stories within it—and the Loyola community.

May was busy. As the spring semester came to a close, the Greyhounds brought home three Patriot League Championship trophies (men and women’s lacrosse and golf), a triumphant and remarkable finish to the University’s first year in the conference.

Loyola celebrated the 162nd Commencement Exercises on May 17—the same day as the Preakness Stakes (more on that here)—with an address delivered by Mark K. Shriver, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and senior advisor to the CEO of Save the Children. I shook his hand as I told him that my father too was also a Holy Cross alumnus (I was nervous!) before he took the stage.

Our magazine staff had the distinct privilege of speaking to several members of the graduating class before they received their diplomas about their experiences at Loyola, their hopes and plans for the future, and what their Jesuit education has meant to them.

My last name changed in June after I married a fellow Loyola graduate on May 31 in the Alumni Memorial Chapel.

Also in June, Loyola was designated an accredited arboretum by the Morton Register of Arboreta for the University’s dedication to nurturing and preserving dozens of tree species on the Evergreen campus.

July in Baltimore is hot. Many days consisted of writing and research for stories in my air-conditioned Timonium office. Several days consisted of sipping an iced coffee from the Starbucks in the Andrew White Student Center as I listened to Loyola’s Hauber Fellows present research they were conducting for 10 weeks alongside faculty from the department of natural and applied sciences.

I’ll admit I did not know many of the terms the students used to describe their research (have I mentioned that I was an English major?); but I am always impressed at the passion for and commitment to spending their summer vacation in a lab, working together through high-level scientific theory.

In August I watched this amazing mural project by the York Road Initiative, the local community, and artist Iandry Randriamandroso take shape with birds of different species popping up on the sides of local businesses along York Road, including Loyola’s own Safety and Transportation building. The project was completed in October.

With September came the start of the fall semester and the return of students to the Evergreen campus.

Loyola received news that it would receive a $3.2 million gift from an anonymous donor to build a state-of-the-art, 8-court tennis facility at Ridley Athletic Complex, named in honor of Head Coach Rick McClure and scheduled to open this coming spring.

There were many, many memorable moments in October, but my top two were carving these and meeting Piper Kerman of Orange is the New Black fame and having her sign my copy of her book.

November was, as it always is, a month to be grateful. Campus Ministry asked members of the community to recognize those who they are thankful for and shared them via a campaign aptly named #Gratitude.

To help us prepare for the coveted meal, Teddy Mosher, 16, one of our fantastic student bloggers, challenged us to rank and debate the food that comprises the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Loyola’s A Hound’s Life blog.

Oh, and we published another issue of Loyola magazine (my second!), which features inspiring stories from alumni and faculty members who have overcome adversity or helped others overcome it, and sometimes even sought it out.

If you haven’t already read your copy cover to cover, I encourage you to read more about some of the incredible people who we had the pleasure of interviewing for this issue online (here, here, here, here, and more here).

This month started with a bang when I returned to my desk after Thanksgiving weekend on December 1.

Our #ChristmasatLoyola website has been getting everybody in the holiday spirit (join us as we count down to Christmas!). Students are in the midst of final exams, but that hasn’t stopped them from decorating residence halls and celebrating Christmas on campus with various bake sales and service projects and Loyola’s annual Lessons and Carols and Chordbusters events.

Last week the magazine staff took a trip to the North Pole to hand deliver the latest issue to Santa.

We caught up a bit, and he asked me to deliver a message (and he says you know who you are): Please don’t forget the milk with the cookies this year. It’s important to hydrate during the all-night delivery process.

As I wind down my first year as a Loyola employee, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to you, our readers, whose willingness to read, share, and give feedback make my job possible; to my colleagues, a group of extremely talented people who work every day to further Loyola’s mission—and who make our office a fun place to work, create, and learn; and to my husband, whose encouragement, support, and wonderful listening skills have helped me transition to this role and be a better writer and woman for others.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

I look forward to all that 2015 has in store!

P.S. In case you missed them, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest stories of 2014 accordingly to you, our readers.

P.P.S. Take our home survey! It’s fun. It will take about five minutes. And it will provide an intermission from the last-minute holiday shopping you’re doing online at work right now.

Humanities Center: What It Means to Loyola

Posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 9:10 am   |   3 Comments

Most people would argue that the buildings, bricks, and grassy quadrangle are not the things that make up Loyola.

And yet most people would in turn argue that the Humanities Center is synonymous with Loyola.

The people are what constitute a community, especially one as vibrant and globally interconnected as Loyola’s.

The beautiful mansion is the first landmark prospective students are shown on a tour. Its wraparound porch is often the meeting place at the end of the Quad for first-year students who still don’t know their way around during those first weeks of September when classes begin.

It is the most photographed and iconic building on the beautiful Evergreen campus, often the subject of calendars, brochures, commencement programs, and ID cards.

When I heard the news that the building had flooded and undergone damage, my heart sank.

Of all the buildings that could fall victim to a burst sprinkler system, why this beautiful Tudor mansion?

Turns out my reaction was not a unique one, and I watched as comments and emails flooded in from concerned alumni, wondering how bad the damage was to the building, and if and when it could be repaired.

(We can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing the damage has been assessed, and it is concentrated in areas that are already being repaired.)

I have two first memories of the Humanities Center that I’d like to share.

My first first memory is that of a prospective student. I had taken a trip to Baltimore with my father to seal my college decision-making process in April of my senior year of high school. I was between two schools. This was a big decision. (In hindsight, my decision to attend Loyola has shaped every major life decision I’ve made since. Thankfully I did not fully realize the scope of this at the ripe age of 18, for I might have passed out on that warm spring day from the pressure of possibly making the wrong decision.)

I met with a student who was working for the summer in admissions. We sat in winged armchairs in the quiet of the Hug Lounge and she told me why she chose Loyola, why she loved Loyola, and answered all of my questions about Loyola and about going to college 300 miles south of any and everything I had known to this point honestly and with humor. (Oddly enough, she and I went on to become friends, play club soccer together, and are still in touch to this day. If you are reading this, you know who you are. I am eternally grateful for that meeting.)

When my father and I left after our appointment, my mind was nearly set. When it came time to board our return flight to Hartford after enjoying crab cakes in Fells Point, I had made my choice.

My second memory takes place on Sept. 3, 2002—and it is one of fear, helplessness, and panic.

I was lugging around a heavy bag, a copy of my first-semester course schedule in my other hand, while failing to navigate the labyrinth the Humanities building has become known for. (It would be the first of many lost minutes spent in this building.)

It was the first day of classes. I knew no one. It was 8 o’clock in the morning. I was uncaffeinated. (I hadn’t yet learned how to brew coffee.) It was hot and humid and I was sweating profusely, backtracking, and trying to manage to look cool as I finally stopped to ask someone who looked official to point me in the right direction.

Years later, I don’t know who that professor was, but she smiled and told me that the clock on the wall was fast and not to worry. I wouldn’t be late to my first English class.

I invite you to share your stories or memories of the Humanities Center, the porch, the Hug Lounge, or Refectory. Leave a comment below!

The Pope’s New Year’s Resolution Might Surprise You

Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 12:09 pm   |   0 Comments

It surprised me to learn that Pope Francis and I share a New Year’s Resolution…

To stop gossiping.

Flickr Creative Commons / Ripton Scott

I’ll admit I imagined the leader of the Catholic Church would have a loftier resolution, something fit for a spiritually self-actualized individual… something I can’t even wrap my head around, as I am still working on my own personal development on a daily basis.

But maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Pope Francis has come to be called “the world’s parish priest,” celebrated for his authentic connection to the world’s people. In fact, he is frequently seen out among the poor, often embracing strangers and even kissing their feet.

The Catholic Church’s first Jesuit pope and the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years, Francis is steadfast in his criticism of capitalism and materialism. Since his arrival at the Vatican, he has been known to opt for more modest amenities than former popes, seeking to live the values he preaches.

Through his homilies, Pope Francis gives actionable advice we can easily introduce to our daily lives. For the past year, he has been spreading the message of ongoing self-reform year round, from making time for others and treating everyone we come across in life as important to stop wasting food.

Many of our own New Year’s Resolutions are steeped in our desire to be better people—for ourselves, for our partners, for our friends, for complete strangers.

The one thing Pope Francis’ “resolutions” have in common is that they all challenge us to be men and women for and with others…

If we clean our plates each night, we make available food and resources for those who can’t afford to squander.

If we stop judging each other, we make room for tolerance and empathy in the world.

And if we go out into the streets and meet the poor in the flesh, as Pope Francis encourages, we will better understand the human condition and be able to empathize with our fellow brothers and sisters.

Now back to my own New Year’s resolution.

Ah, gossip.

Why do we gossip?

At its most basic level, gossip offers a pastime, a guilty pleasure, and a comparative measure of self-worth.

It can provide a distraction from our work, our to-do lists, and our obligations.

Most often, however, it seems we fall into the trap of gossip because it can seem expected—and is so widely accepted— in social interaction.

Ironically, gossip helps to build a bond and a sort of “trust” between those partaking, despite its reputation as small-minded and backstabbing.

Aside from the fact that gossip almost always catches up with us, it can be damaging to relationships, including our relationship with ourselves.

What’s more, outside of our personal lives, gossip is simply unprofessional.

In December, the pope reminded Vatican officials of this fact in a Christmas address, saying, “Let us all be conscientious objectors [of gossip], and mind you I’m not simply moralizing! Gossip is harmful to people, our work, and our surroundings.”

The pope went on to warn: “When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downwards toward mediocrity.”

Pope Francis has often spoken of “the threat of gossip,” recounting that gossip has caused pain at the least and even death at its worst. He challenges us to transform gossip and judgment of others to love of others.

A worthy challenge indeed.

You can read the homilies that inspired a list of the Pope’s “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” here.

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution, or are you kick-starting a resolution from years past that needs a refresher?

What shapes your resolution-making process? Is it constructive criticism from a loved one, or a behavior you want to modify for your own betterment? Or, like me, do you find yourself calling to mind the values of a Jesuit education, or your upbringing?

What helps you keep your resolutions as the year goes on?

We would love to hear what our readers resolve to do in 2014.

A New Year, A New Face

Posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014 at 2:44 pm   |   0 Comments

It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I return to a desk at Loyola to write—only this time as an employee of the University.

After working as a writer and editor in the Baltimore financial publishing scene for several years, I join Loyola magazine.

It seems not so long ago that I was burning the midnight oil, cranking out English term papers in the computer lab on the first floor of Newman Towers…

But the truth is the seven years following my graduation have seen many changes for Loyola.

For one thing, Loyola has a different name than it did when I received my diploma. And the Baltimore City campus boasts new (to me) student housing and a beautiful, modern library. On Jan. 13, the community will celebrate the opening of the Alumni House.

As of this year, Loyola’s intercollegiate athletic teams participate in the Patriot League. The men’s basketball team competed in their first Patriot League game on Thursday at Reitz Arena, defeating Navy in overtime and marking the Hounds’ first league win.

Loyola has launched the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign to impassion and involve current students and their parents, faculty and staff, alumni, and the greater Loyola community in securing the University’s future and enhancing students’ experiences during their time here.

So many new things are happening for Loyola’s students and for the University at large right now, and I am thrilled to be working at Loyola during this exciting time.

There is one thing hasn’t changed, though: how Loyola magazine takes its inspiration from the members of the Loyola community, past and present.

Loyola is about and for you—our readers.

That said, I invite you to share with me what you would like to see more of in its pages and online as I take on this new role…

What kinds of stories are you interested in hearing—or hearing more of?

How might Loyola better showcase what’s happening on campus and around the globe within the University’s network?

Is there a particular program you were involved with as an undergraduate student you would like to hear more about?

Are you involved in a particular organization that you’d like to share with others, or do you know a fellow graduate who is living out strong truths in the world of business, politics, or the public sector whose story we should feature?

Send your feedback to magazine@loyola.edu, or follow Loyola Magazine on Facebook and post your questions or comments to our wall. You can also find us on Twitter @Loyolamagazine.

The New Year is a wonderful time to reflect on the past and to celebrate what’s to come.

Certainly, the Loyola community has much to celebrate and be excited for this year, and I look forward to sharing these stories with the readers of Loyola magazine.

How a broken camera gave me a memory to last forever

Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 1:27 pm   |   1 Comment

I never thought I’d meet Tony Blair.

I didn’t even think I’d get close enough to him to take his picture—which was just as well because my camera broke last week.

Then just hours before Blair was due to arrive on campus, one of my colleagues sent me an email. The former prime minister of the United Kingdom was going to deliver a brief statement on the passing of Margaret Thatcher to the media before the lecture.

As editor of Loyola magazine, I was welcome to come. So, of course, I went.

I waited for an hour alongside media from three Baltimore TV stations, The Baltimore Sun, and our very own reporters and photographers from The Greyhound—the most enthusiastic and earnest members of the media I’ve met.

I had borrowed a camera but it refused to turn on as Blair pulled up in a black Suburban. So, while everyone around me shot video and still images of his remarks, I merely smiled and scrawled on a notepad.

Can you find me in this photo? I'm the one with the blue jacket--and no camera.

He shared his thoughts on Thatcher’s passing, and then he was gone.

I figured I would see him once more, at the lecture, as one of almost 3,000 people. I just felt lucky to have been about 15 feet away from him as he delivered his statement.

But a half hour later, as I waited to get inside Reitz Arena, I ran into a colleague who was working the VIP reception.

“I think I can get you in for a photo with him,” she said.

At first I turned her down. I was at the lecture with a friend, and it didn’t seem right to leave my friend while I went off to meet the former British prime minister. But my friend insisted. “Go,” she said. “It will make my evening for you to meet him.”

Now that is a true friend.

So I went. And moments later I was in line, wondering what I should say.

When it was my turn, I shook his hand. He was smiling and he looked as if he wanted to say something. I merely introduced myself and told him I worked for Loyola.

“Yes, I remember,” he said. “You were outside.”

I was astonished. He and I stood behind the tape markings on the floor and smiled together for the camera. It took only a moment and then he was on to the next person.

And all I could think was that Tony Blair remembered me! In this sea of people who were passing him, spending a moment with him here and there, he recognized me from that brief media moment. Then I realized. I was probably the only member of the media who was not behind a camera, so he could actually see my face. And he must be one of those people who has a good memory for faces.

Today, of course, he wouldn’t recognize me. But I have something better than a picture—a memory of not only a lecture full of insights and quips and a glimpse into this world leader’s personality, but also the briefest of conversations, the icing on the cake of a magnificent evening.

Campus Mass goers reflect on Pope Benedict’s resignation

Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 3:47 pm   |   0 Comments

When the first pope in 600 years announces his decision to step down, where do you go to find out how members of the Loyola community are reacting?

Loyola magazine went to Loyola’s Alumni Memorial Chapel to talk with some of the people who were praying at today’s mid-day Mass.

This Is a Big Deal

Wearing a green Red Sox cap and carrying books from a full morning of classes, Patrick O’Connor was on his way to Mass when he stopped to talk.

“Some of my friends weren’t that surprised,” said the first-year student. “I don’t think they realize what a big deal this is.”

Even so, O’Connor could understand why Pope Benedict XVI made his decision. “It must have been very hard for him, but he must have been guided by the Holy Spirit.”

O’Connor remembers when Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005—even though he was a bit young to understand everything that was happening at the time.

“It was taking over Price is Right, so I knew it must be a big deal,” he said with a smile.

O’Connor, who lives in Dedham, Mass., saw the pope when he traveled to Madrid for World Youth Day last summer. “It was incredible,” he said. “Most of my pictures didn’t turn out, but I still have them in my brain.”

Still Getting to Know Him

When Jesi Gonzales, ’13, heard the news this morning, she called home.

“I never really call my mom, so she was really taken aback,” said Gonzales, who lives in Reading, Pa. But she wanted to talk with her mother about the pope’s decision.

Her parents were the ones, after all, who invited Gonzales to join them for a family trip to Madrid for World Youth Day last summer, where they saw Pope Benedict. Although she was at a difficult place on her faith journey at the time, she enjoyed meeting people from around the world.

“I am at a better place now,” said the engineering sciences major who was on her way to Mass.

Reflecting on what she knows of Pope Benedict, Gonzales said, “I felt more connected to John Paul the second because he wrote more for young people.” She has, however, read some of Benedict’s writings, she said, “and I want to get to know him better.”

A Legacy of Brilliant Writing

As the Rev. Frank Haig, S.J., looked back over the recent days of the pope’s tenure, including how he brought together all of the cardinals for two consistories, today’s announcement made sense.

“He had done a number of obvious things to prepare for it very quietly,” said Fr. Haig, professor emeritus of physics. “He was getting ready.”

What surprised Fr. Haig was that the pope will remain at the Vatican in his retirement, rather than returning home to his native Germany.

When the retired pope is residing in the Vatican, “I bet you won’t hear a word out of him,” Fr. Haig said, adding that Benedict will likely continue to write and publish. “He’s a brilliant theologian, and his legacy will be his three books about Jesus.”

Although longevity runs in the pope’s family, Fr. Haig appreciates that the leadership role requires a great deal.

“Times have changed. Medicine has changed,” Fr. Haig said. “They can keep us alive, but they can’t keep us young.”

Fr. Haig has lived through the papacies of Pope Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI.

Now he’s preparing to get to know a new pope.

“It’s important,” he said, “but we have to remember that the head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The pope is just his vicar.”

O Christmas Treat, O Christmas Treat

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012 at 10:28 am   |   0 Comments

For this year’s Christmas at Loyola Advent calendar, we invited our alumni food bloggers to share a few holiday recipes—and I offered to post one, too. After all, we’ve been talking a lot about food here at Loyola magazine; we just published a food issue this summer.

When I couldn’t think of any recipe I had that was particularly Christmasy, I called my mother.

“Do we have any family holiday recipes?” I asked.

There was silence.

“Maybe your father’s cookies?” she said, thinking of my father’s spritz cookies—which we always called “electric cookies” because he used an electric-powered cookie press. “But he makes those year-round.”

“Your pumpkin pie?” I asked. “Pumpkin cookies? The punch?” Same problem. We consume all of those at other times of the year. They aren’t strictly holiday recipes.

Suddenly I realized I had never had holiday staples such as egg nog, fruitcake, or even plum or figgy pudding.

What could I possibly offer? And then I remembered.

Two years ago, when we were planning the first Christmas at Loyola site, I decided to make a recipe to post on St. Lucy’s feast day, Dec. 13. My sister, Treasa Beyer Matysek, ’05, helped me and we embarked on an evening baking session.

At the end of it, we had produced one item that would have been a complete failure if we hadn’t laughed so much while making it, and another—a Santa Lucia Crown—that was lovely, though a bit labor-intensive for those of us who consider Italian ice a perfect dessert.

I haven’t made the Santa Lucia Crown since, but Treasa and I often talk about what fun we had—and how beautiful it was when we finished. It’s not overly sugary and has the sweetness of a European dessert, such as a panettone, and it goes well with a cup of tea. It also looks rather impressive.

And the Santa Lucia Crown sure beats a bowl of figgy pudding—or it would if I ever tased figgy pudding.

You can find out how to make it here.

Meanwhile, here are some holiday recipes from food blogging Greyhounds who truly create wonders in their kitchens. Pick one, try it, and let us know what you think.


Zacusca, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Fried Chicken Livers, from Greg Bissonette, ’05


Braised Lamb Shanks, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Grilled Leg of Lamb Stuffed wth Apricots, from Greg Bissonette, ’05


Pretzel Turtle Bites, from Dawn Hayden Witman, ’03

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookie Sandwiches, from Cailin Gibbons, ’10

Cinnamon Roll Cookies, from Dawn Hayden Witman, ’03

Chocolate Chip Carrot Cake, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Flourless Chocolate Cake, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, from Erin McDermott, ’11

Have a recipe you’d like to share? Send it to magazine@loyola.edu, and we’ll add it to our online recipe box.