Promoting Jesuit Values
1949 graduate gives $1.5 million to support Loyola’s mission and ministry
April 3, 2014
As a student at St. Bernardine’s Catholic School on Edmondson Avenue in Baltimore, Gordon Erberts, ’49, never missed a day of school.
Even the day he fell off of a school banister—almost landing on a nun—he went to the doctor’s office three blocks away, and returned to school. He finished the day with a cast on his left arm.
On windy winter mornings Erberts climbed the hill to the gold-domed church to serve as an altar boy at 7 a.m. Mass.
“When we got up into the sacristy, we would turn on the Bunsen burner that we used to heat the incense to warm our hands,” he said, recalling how he memorized the responses in Latin. “I really looked forward to being one of the senior altar boys because then I got to ring the bells during offertory.”
His early education started Erberts on a faith journey that he continued as a chemistry and modern biology major at Loyola, where he attended Mass in what is now Xavier Hall, the small chapel that preceded the Alumni Memorial Chapel. Erberts commuted to campus from his home in Baltimore’s Ten Hills neighborhood, and he recalls gathering in the chapel for Mass on holy days and first Fridays.
“My mom and dad knew the Jesuits gave a good education,” said Erberts, an only child who hitchhiked and rode the bus to reach campus, where he played lacrosse, wrestled, and ran track, remembers oyster roasts and cheering on the Greyhounds basketball team, and earned money working as a lab assistant in the chemistry lab.
When he graduated, Erberts landed a job in flooring sales and took up golfing. One day on a golf course he met a man who sold mutual funds, and he decided to try it himself. One snowy winter day in 1960 he decided to leave Baltimore for sunny California, where he continued his career in mutual funds.
“I couldn’t play golf on the frozen fairways in the snow,” he said.
When Erberts decided to make a gift to Loyola, he reflected on what his faith experience there meant to him. Recalling how the Jesuit priests and scholastics on campus offered “down-to-earth” advice, criticism, and humor, he decided to make a $1.5 million planned gift to support Loyola’s mission and ministry work on campus.
“I want to give because they did a lot for me as a man, as a person,” said Erberts, who lives in Toluca Lake, Calif., where he is a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Church. “Loyola did something for me, and I want to do something for them.”
Erberts has written his will to give $1.5 million to Loyola to provide endowment support for Campus Ministry and mission integration and assist with programming and retreats to promote the University’s Catholic, Jesuit mission.
“Loyola is a good Catholic college, and the Jesuits are darn good teachers,” Erberts said. “They did a good job with me, and I want to pass that on to today’s young people to give them a head start on life.”