LMU: Rose Parade Bound
Published: March 18, 2011
By Joseph Wakelee-lynch
When L.A.’s best and brightest go rolling down Colorado Blvd. on the lovely morning of Jan. 2, 2012, LMU will be among them again.
The 2012 Tournament of Roses will feature LMU’s second appearance in the nation’s foremost New Year’s Day parade. The first was when the Loyola University band marched in 1938.
The 2012 parade appearance, without a doubt, will be the most visible part of the university’s yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding. About 40 million viewers tune in to watch on TV, and about 1 million people line Pasadena’s famous boulevard, many with hot chocolate or coffee in hand.
The creative process behind LMU float is already in the early stages. On May 22, a fundraiser and reception at the Tournament House in Pasadena will kick off LMU’s Rose Parade festivities, where the design of the LMU entry will be unveiled.
To build the float, LMU has hired Phoenix Decorating Co., one of the most celebrated float builders in the parade. In the 2011 parade alone, Phoenix floats were named for nine honors, including President’s Award for Most Effective Floral Use and Presentation, Animation Award for Best Animation and Motion Extraordinaire Award for Most Spectacular Float.
Emcee for the gathering on May 22 will be Ron Okum, LMU regent and past president of the Tournament of Roses. Okum also is an LMU parent whose daughter, Amy (Okum) Garrity, graduated in 1993. Tours of Tournament House will be included, and Chris Lofthouse, president of Phoenix, will be there. Proceeds from the event will go toward the costs of construction, and all costs of the float will be paid for through private sources and gifts, not university funds. To learn more about attending the fundraiser, contact Cynthia Gonzalez, assistant director of Annual Giving, at 310.338.6099; Cynthia.Gonzalez@lmu.edu.
Although plans will be unveiled in May, alumni can shape those plans now. Final design is not complete, and alumni with ideas about how the LMU heritage should be displayed on the float can add their comments below. The theme of the 2012 Rose Parade is “Just Imagine ... ” “We have some ideas about the float,” says Kevin Delaney, director of alumni giving, “but we’re definitely interested in alumni input.” Ideas are welcome through the end of March.
Alumni also have at least two other ways to participate: first, as float sponsor. Several giving categories exist that come along with opportunities to share in the New Year’s Day activities, including riding on the float in the parade. Contact Kevin Delaney ’93 (310.338.5575; Kevin.Delaney@lmu.edu) to learn more. Second, why not help decorate the float itself? Sebastien Reyes ’07, assistant director of Annual Giving (310.568.5262; Sebastien.Reyes@lmu.edu) is organizing decorating shifts that alumni and others can join during the week before the parade.