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Class of 2009 dedicates gift on anniversary of Katrina

August 21, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans Class of 2009 will dedicate a sculptural bench to the university on Saturday, Aug. 29, to pay tribute to 637 colleges that took in displaced Loyola students in the semester following Hurricane Katrina.

The Rev. Charles Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, was instrumental in marshalling member schools to assist students and will be a special guest at the event.

Festivities begin at 9 a.m. in the sculpture garden on Loyola’s main campus, and will feature entertainment by the Algiers Brass Band, an interactive art station and refreshments. The dedication ceremony starts at 9:30.

The Class of 2009 were freshmen when Katrina came ashore in New Orleans in 2005. After the hurricane and subsequent levee failures, Loyola was forced to suspend classes, and students scattered to colleges and law schools across North America. The bench, by New Orleans metal artist David Borgerding, incorporates the names of each of the schools into the piece, which is shaped like the spiral of a hurricane.

Since 1998, Loyola University’s Senior Class Gift Program, administered by the Office of Annual Fund, has raised funds and educated graduating seniors about the important tradition of alumni giving.

“This year’s class gift is especially meaningful because our students chose to not only give an inspirational gift to our campus,” said Shon Cowan Baker, associate director of Annual Fund, “but they chose to share this gift with the 637 colleges and universities who helped bring them a bit of certainty during such an uncertain time.”

Veronica Sharkey, ’09, agreed the gift accomplishes dual goals: honoring the “Katrina colleges” as well as Loyola.

“We really wanted to find a way to thank all the schools and other institutions that helped us after Katrina,” Sharkey said. “They were under no obligation to take us in, but did so because it was the right thing to do.”

“I ended up attending Georgia State University, and while I enjoyed it, the experience confirmed that Loyola and New Orleans was where I was meant to be.”

For more information on senior class gifts and the Office of Annual Fund, contact Shon Cowan Baker at sacowan@loyno.edu, or by phone at 504-861-5568.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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