By Conor Gaffney
Having worked at Loyola for over 30 years, Tom Gallagher continues to serve the Cub community as a member of the counseling department.
Gallagher, a Los Angeles native, is one of eight children. He attended both Hoover and St. Francis high schools and said that his experiences as a high school student helped to inspire his decision to become an academic counselor. “I think the high school I went to really never talked to anybody about college. The assumption was that if you wanted to go to college, you would go to a local college,” Gallagher said.
After high school Gallagher continued his educational career at the University of San Diego (USD). As a Torero, he participated in several counseling-based internships designed to assist a wide diversity of individuals, ranging from young mothers and their children to disadvantaged adolescents. “That [internships]drew me to it; there were a lot of young people without too much support. That is probably why I started [counseling].”
Gallagher graduated USD with bachelor degrees in English and psychology in addition to a masters in Marital and Family Therapy.
Prior to his arrival to Loyola, Gallagher worked in various fields, including truck driving and the Glendale sanitation department, to pay for his education, particularly graduate school. “Everything was in line to culminate in education,” he said.
Gallagher began working at Loyola in 1983 as a counselor. Previously, he taught summer session courses in study skills for fifth through seventh graders, an undertaking that helped him develop a great sense of respect for his teaching colleagues: “It’s very humbling to teach that age group because you just go home exhausted….It’s maybe a little more cerebral and a little less the entertainment factor–– although the best teachers here are probably both entertaining and cerebral.”
In addition to counseling, Gallagher’s other primary assignment has been working as a member of the admissions committee. “I worked quite a few high school nights, the open house, helped with the actual process of reading the files and choosing a class. I’ve been involved in that for probably about 20 years,” he said.
As a counselor, Gallagher enjoys seeing his students grow throughout their four years at Loyola. He said his favorite part of the job is “probably working with the students, but the faculty here is also really great.”
When Gallagher is not at Loyola, he enjoys racing autocross, traveling, riding motorcycles, and camping. He is the father of three adult children, and he is planning to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary this August.
Gallagher said he continues to enjoy working at Loyola because of the collectively supportive nature of the school: “This is a great place because everyone works to support the students, and even the students support each other….Just the way that everyone supports each other is one of the beauties of this place.”