By Alec Zbornak and Robert Dickson
The Loyola Alumni Association hosted the 15th annual Alumni Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 3. As part of the sesquicentennial celebration, the evening was dedicated to past and present members of the faculty and staff.
In past years the Alumni Dinner has been a ceremony that has celebrated the recipients of the Cahalan Award, which “is presented annually to Loyola alumni to honor the enduring contributions of former president, Father Patrick J. Cahalan, S.J., during his 27 years of service at the high school,” according to the Loyola High School website.
“During the 150th we were trying to find a conspicuous way to say thank you to our faculty, past and present. It was a perfect time because the Alumni Dinner is for alums, and that’s who should be saying thanks to the faculty,” said Director for Advancement and Alumni Relations Mr. Bill Thomason.
Mr. David Roberts, fine arts teacher, said, “The generosity and thoughtful evening of recognition was highly appreciated and felt by all. I’m truly grateful for the kind consideration and continued support of our alumni.”
The event started at 4:30 p.m. with a mass led by school president the Rev. Fr. Greg Goethals, S.J., ‘73 in Clougherty Chapel, followed by cocktails and appetizers in Malloy Commons. Chairman of the 150th Committee Mr. Jack Girardi ‘65 gave opening remarks, following Fr. Goethals’ opening prayer.
During his speech, Mr. Girardi thanked the forces behind the event and expressed his gratitude to all faculty. “It is the faculty that takes our young men and turns them into something special. I stand here as an alumnus myself and as a father of two other young men, and extend on behalf of Loyola to the faculty and staff–both those that are teaching you now and those that taught here
in the past–and say to you, thank you very much.”
In his opening prayer, Fr. Goethals had all faculty members gather together in the center of Malloy Commons and asked that everyone else in attendance raise their arms to bless the honorees.
“Let us extend our hands over this sacred and holy group of human beings, who have made this high school what it is, the best darn high school in Southern California,” said Fr. Goethals. “But it is the best high school because it’s where the unconditional love of God permeates everything that you do and everything that you are and the legacy of these young men, so that they may go off and make a difference in the world.”
Science teacher Mrs. Kimberly Simon said about the event, “The Alumni Dinner was a wonderful opportunity to gather with faculty and staff from the many years of Loyola’s history. One of the highlights of the evening was the blessing of the faculty and staff by Fr. Goethals. It was very moving to see our dedication to Loyola celebrated and blessed in the presence of one another.”
In addition to shifting the focus of the event from the presentation of the Cahalan Awards to the honoring of the faculty and staff, the physical layout and the operations of the event changed, as well, said Director of Events Ms. Karin Chamberlin.
“Usually, it is a seated dinner inside Xavier Center, but we switched it up this year. We moved it out to Malloy Commons and had station parties rather than a seated dinner, so people could choose what they wanted [to eat]and sample multiple dishes,” said Ms. Chamberlain. “Also, it was open seating, so the guests could sit with whomever they wanted.”
Ms. Chamberlain said that this year’s dinner was much more social and lively than those of past years.
“The evening was about socializing, dancing and having a good time,” said Ms. Chamberlain. “It really was a celebration for everything that the faculty and staff have done.”
Following the dinner, attendees were shown a video dedicated to the impacts that the faculty and staff have made on both the past and present student bodies.
Mr. Thomason said “I wanted them to know that they are important, thanked and loved and that what they do everyday is still appreciated by everybody. That was the whole goal. If nobody had showed up but the faculty and staff, I would have still been happy.”