Opening Doors

$1 million gift will help Maryland students benefit from full living learning experience at Loyola

By Rita Buettner  |  Photo by Michael Paras

When Ken Boehl, ’76, MBA ’81, was looking at colleges, his father told him he could pick any college he could reach by bus. Boehl caught two buses each morning to get to Loyola’s campus. His experience at Loyola changed his life and set him on a path for personal and professional achievement.

When Ken and Kathy Boehl’s son, Chris, and daughter, Kathleen, ’11, were preparing to go to college, they had several questions about residence hall living. It was then that Boehl realized he couldn’t speak from personal experience.

“It hit me,” Boehl said, “and I thought what a great growing experience it must be to be away from home for four years.”

When Ken and Kathy decided to make a $1 million gift to Loyola to create the Boehl Family Scholarship Fund, they talked about how formative that experience of living on campus can be for students. They discussed their strong family ties to Baltimore and to the state of Maryland and the difference that scholarships can make to students who are growing up in families without many financial resources, as Boehl did.

“I really wanted to help with financial aid,” said Boehl, who, as a child, lived in Baltimore’s Idlewood neighborhood. “Kathy is the one who said, ‘It would be nice to give some students in Maryland the opportunity to have that full experience.’”

Today, Boehl is a Loyola trustee with homes in Wilmington, Del., and Annapolis, Md., and he has encouraged the University to increase financial aid assistance to students. The Boehls hope that the scholarships awarded through this fund will help Maryland students with financial need experience all that Loyola offers, including the residential experience.

Boehl appreciates the value of a scholarship not just because his family could not afford to send him away to school, but because he values his own college education. He has also seen firsthand the difference education can make in other young people’s lives.

After Boehl earned an accounting degree and MBA from Loyola, he went on to pass the CPA exam and took his first job with Maryland National Bank. He worked his way up through the company and after 12 years he transferred to MBNA America, then a subsidiary of Maryland National Bank, where he became a senior vice chairman. Ken worked on the merger of MBNA America with Bank of America and retired in 2006.

Making a Difference

At MBNA, the CEO, Charles Cawley, encouraged his employees to give back to the community. In 1993, Cawley asked Boehl to give some accounting advice to his high school alma mater, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J., which serves many students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Boehl started visiting the school regularly and became connected to the community. He volunteered much of his time at St. Benedict’s Prep during his first year of retirement, spending three to four days per week at the school and living in the monastery with the Benedictine monks. He now serves on the Board, Finance Committee, and Advancement Committee at St. Benedict’s Prep.

One day Boehl received an email from a St. Benedict’s graduate he hadn’t heard from in more than 10 years. He had just been invited to join a country club. He said, “Mr. Boehl, I want you to be my first guest to play golf there.”

Boehl—whose path to professional success began on those bus rides to Loyola more than 30 years ago—was honored.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you give young people the opportunity to learn and develop.”

And now, thanks to his and his wife’s generosity, a new generation of Loyola students is about to find that out for themselves.

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