Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Loyola Class of 2009 commemorates Katrina and honors colleges

Loyola press release - August 14, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans Class of 2009 dedicated 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.

Festivities in the sculpture garden on Loyola’s main campus featured entertainment by the Algiers Brass Band, an interactive art station and refreshments.

The Class of 2009 were first year students 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 and Europe. 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 the 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 the 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 the senior class gift, contact Meredith Hartley in the Office of Public Affairs at mhartley@loyno.edu or 504-861-5448.