The editor of this university’s magazine did not attend this university. The editor of this university’s magazine occasionally regrets that. He particularly feels it at the university’s annual Alumni Reunion Weekend, which is occurring this very weekend.
Last night, the editor was invited to sit in on part of the dinner reception for the graduates of Loyola University of 1960. Actually, he stood leaning against a wall as far back in the room as he could, so as not to get in the way. He went because he knew that the stories he’d hear would teach him important university history, including tales of adventures pranks, and summonses to the perturbed dean of students’ office. Fortunately for the editor, lots of stories were told. He thinks a few may be printable.
When the editor arrived, there already was plenty of laughter and teasing. As the night went on and the memories flowed, the conversation began to shift away from shenanigans toward reflections on the education the alumni had received. “My small university gave me a big education,” the editor heard one say.
The names of professors, teachers, administrators and, as they were called then, secretaries were mentioned increasingly often. Even 50 years later, the men remembered the names of the university’s department secretaries. And then one asked, “Who else hasn’t been named? Who are we forgetting to mention?” Taylor, Foxworthy, Sullivan, Kilp — “Giants,” someone said. The names became part of a litany, the editor thought. The evening by no means turned overly solemn. Yet the alumni offered thanks to their teachers, none of them present, who had made them better people.
Earlier that evening, the editor, being a hard-working sort of a guy, was at his desk after hours. A recent alumnus who had worked for the university after graduation stopped by. He was excited to be back on campus, especially for the reunion. He asked how people were doing and spoke proudly about some of the work he saw taking place at the university.
When the evening was nearly at an end, the editor thought, “How interesting that that the young man, who probably recalls the combination to his campus mailbox, feels much the same pride and gratitude as the alumni who left campus 50 years ago.” He and they attended vastly different universities. But if asked about his college memories, the recent grad would rattle off name after name, the “giants” who taught him classroom and life lessons. His litany also would include professors and staff members, Jesuits and laypeople, and — most definitely — nuns.
On the way home, the editor wondered again abut what it would have been like if he had gone to this university.
(Photo by Andres Andrieu ’13)