Cultivating Bright Minds

Campaign gifts poise Loyola's academic programs for the future

By Kathrin Havrilla

Five students walk at Baltimore's Inner Harbor with the skyline reflecting in the water behind them.

When establishing the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign in 2011, the Campaign Steering Committee sought to strengthen the University’s commitment to Jesuit ideals—chief among them being academic excellence and intellectual openness. Many of the campaign initiatives focused on academic improvements to give students the strongest possible educational foundation to impact the world around them.

Bright Minds, Bold Hearts is unique in campaigns at Loyola in that it has really focused on the academic success of students and increasing opportunities for both students and faculty,” said Amanda M. Thomas, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “The campaign has had a tremendous impact on academic excellence, both for current and future students alike.”

Establishing the campaign priorities was particularly important when considering how the campaign would enhance the education Loyola offers to current and future students.

“Fresh and impactful degrees and educational opportunities are important to ensure our graduates can make positive marks on a changing world,” says Brian Oakes, ’99, MBA ’10, assistant vice president for advancement. “These things can only happen through the generous support of alumni, parents, donors, and friends, who helped make Bright Minds, Bold Hearts the most fruitful and influential campaign in University history.”

The Transformative Global Studies Program

Since its launch in 2006, Global Studies has been a popular interdisciplinary major, providing undergraduates with a social science-based curriculum that prepares them to lead, learn, and serve in a diverse world.

Oakes recalls helping present a plan for strengthening Global Studies in front of a campaign advisory committee of alumni, trustees, and other faculty and administrators.

Ed Hanway, ’74, then-chairman of Loyola’s Board of Trustees, was on the panel and was so inspired by the concept that he reached out to the University within days to express his desire to fund Global Studies.

Thanks to that very generous gift from Hanway and his wife, Ellen, Bright Minds, Bold Hearts was also able to fund the Loyola University Maryland Hanway Chair in Global Studies, held by Fabio Mendez, Ph.D., as well as interdisciplinary faculty research and the endowed Hanway Lecture Series.

Luminary speakers of the series have included former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), Nobel Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, and American environmentalist and author Paul Hawken.

Seated students work at computers in the Student Experiential Learning Lab

Giving First-Years an Academic and Social Leg Up with Messina

Another campaign priority impacting Loyola’s educational landscape is Messina, an interdisciplinary living learning experience for first-year students.

In small cohorts of 16, students who live on the same hall take two seminars—one in the fall and one in the spring—that are categorically different but thematically linked, such as a studio arts two-dimensional design class and a computer science class, to help students discover diverse perspectives both in and out of the classroom.

Messina came about thanks to the efforts of Douglas B. Harris, Ph.D., professor of political science, and Michael Puma, co-director of Messina in student development. Together, they were awarded a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2013, which was Loyola’s largest gift that year.

The nature of the NEH Challenge Grant was a 3-to-1 match, so the University had to raise $1.5 million for Messina to qualify for the $500,000.

“We had five years to raise the money, and we did it in three-and-a-half,” Oakes said. “Messina amplifies one of the true benefits of Loyola University Maryland— our small class sizes—and connects it to our first-year students’ academic, social, and developmental growth.”

Two students and Fr. Tim Brown, S.J., converse at a research presentation.

Creating Future Leaders with Peace and Justice Studies

In 2013, Mary Catherine Bunting, Mount Saint Agnes College ’64, gave a $1.75 million gift as part of the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign to form the Bunting Program in Peace and Justice Studies. Making one of the largest programspecific gifts in Loyola’s history, Bunting helped to create a new minor open to all undergraduates and a speaker series that contributes to raising awareness about global peace and justice issues.

“Mary Catherine is a lifelong advocate of peace, and we discussed the impact she wanted to have during the campaign,” Oakes said. “With faculty support, we decided to help students explore the causes and consequences of various forms of violence and conditions of peace from an interdisciplinary perspective.”

In addition to the minor and speaker series, Bunting’s gift supports an endowed Peace and Justice Studies faculty scholar, interdisciplinary faculty workshops, the development of new courses, and summer research fellowships and other research opportunities for undergraduate students.

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