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Gambit Weekly recognizes two Loyola faculty members in "40 Under 40"

Loyola press release - November 3, 2008

Two Loyola University New Orleans employees were named to Gambit Weekly’s annual list “40 Under 40,” a “look at some of the young people who are making remarkable contributions to the New Orleans metropolitan region.”

Michelle Kirtley Johnston, Ph.D., of the Joseph A. Butt, S.J., College of Business, and Jean Montes, D.M.A., of the College of Music and Fine Arts, were listed in the Nov. 4 issue of the newspaper and will be honored at a reception.
Johnston, 39, an associate professor of management, was recognized for developing Loyola’s Executive Mentoring Program to help retain students enrolled in the College of Business. Johnston told Gambit she hopes the program will have the long-term effect of keeping young professionals in the city after they graduate.

“We were just trying to be innovative and find something that would interest the students,” Johnston said. “We wanted a link to show there are a lot of good opportunities in New Orleans. We're also trying to stop the brain drain.”

Johnston started the mentoring program five years ago, which is a requirement for all freshmen business students. Students work with business mentors in the New Orleans area once a month.

“What students really need when they're 18 or 19 is direction,” Johnston said. “Before the program, our retention rates were really low. Within one year of starting the program, our retention rates rose. Now students say they are excited to be in business.”

Montes, 36, who is the director of orchestral studies at Loyola, has been at Loyola for a year. Gambit noted, as the son of an Anglican priest, Montes had an early familiarity with liturgical and classical music and took up piano and cello at a young age in his home of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When he was 14, Montes became first cellist in the Port-au-Prince orchestra and won a full scholarship to study cello at Duquesne University.

Montes, who is also the artistic director of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra and a volunteer music instructor in New Orleans public schools, taught and conducted all over the United States before his recent landing at Loyola.
In Montes’ Gambit profile, he said he feels comfortable in New Orleans.

“I always had an interest in the French-Creole culture of Louisiana,” Montes told Gambit. “This is the closest place [in America] to where I grew up.”