By Christopher Combs
Mrs. Melinda Wiggins, a seven-year Loyola staff member with a background ranging from working at The Walt Disney Company to owning a real estate magazine, has played a critical role in the efficiency and management of the Counseling Department.
Before arriving at Loyola, Mrs. Wiggins, a first generation college student, studied public administration at the University of Southern California. After graduating from USC, Mrs. Wiggins became a court clerk for Los Angeles County where she worked in the Criminal Division and maintained the various records of the court. She then became a paralegal for a patent-trade law firm where she worked as a legal assistant preparing patent applications.
Accepting a job to work for Disney, Wiggins furthered her legal career as a paralegal from July 1988 to March 1991. She served as the Disney liaison to outside counsel in which she prepared responses to all unsolicited ideas submitted to the company.
She then stopped working to have her two children, a son and daughter, and began working on a real estate magazine that she owned and operated with her husband. Soon after, the stock market took a steep crash. “I was in need of a job. I worked with my husband, and I realized that I wanted to give back, either to school or to something else,” Mrs. Wiggins said. It was through her son’s high school application process, however, that Mrs. Wiggins discovered Loyola and began her Cub career as both a Loyola mother and an administrative assistant.
In 2008 Mrs. Wiggins became the administrative assistant to the Counseling Department. Her son, currently a senior at Gonzaga University, started at Loyola as a freshman the same year that Mrs. Wiggins began working. “Loyola came at a perfect time. I was able to drive my son into school when he couldn’t drive. I got to really have that bird’s eye view of what high school is like, and it’s been a true blessing in my life. Every bit of working at Loyola with all the friendships I’ve made here is amazing.”
As administrative assistant to the Counseling Department, Mrs. Wiggins coordinates with counselors and students to expedite the college application process at Loyola, organizes college visits and is involved in the management of counseling-related events. This year, Mrs. Wiggins has helped coordinate a Jesuit Education Tour for Loyola students, organized the Case Studies Program for junior parents, managed scheduling and parent visits, and coordinated Career Day with 48 speakers for the junior class. “Counselors work as a team up here in the counseling department, and it’s my job to help them coordinate whatever events they’re planning,” Wiggins said.
Mrs. Wiggins said that one of her favorite parts about Loyola is the Community Service Program and the manner in which students interact with each other. After participating in a faculty day of community service at Dolores Mission, she felt that the firsthand experience allowed her to see the true meaning of a Jesuit education. “When I got interviewed for the job, I was intimidated by how many people were involved in the process, and I didn’t understand why. Now I get it.”