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A Light for Loyola: Iluminada Ronquillo Gabriel ‘59

Iluminada Gabriel

Affectionately known as "Lumen,” Iluminada Ronquillo Gabriel ‘59 is a woman who wears many hats — mother, grandmother, wife, retired teacher, philanthropist, and Loyola University New Orleans alumna. Illuminada grew up in the Philippines and earned her BSE from Manila University. She taught children in grades two through six, later working in cataloging in the central office of the bureau of public libraries.

Illuminada came to the U.S. through the Visitors Exchange Program to study for two years at Loyola. Her original trip to the Big Easy was by way of Tokyo, Shemye, Alaska, Seattle, and Chicago. While at Loyola, she was a dedicated member of the library staff, spending her days cataloging books, keeping track of unpaid dues and fines, and directing lost students. She graduated from Loyola on August 13, 1959, with a master’s degree in education.

Though she was an active member of her community in her youth, participating in Girl Scouts, the Jesuit values she learned while at Loyola solidified her commitment to being a woman for others. After moving to New York, she became a Scout Leader and Den Mother for the Cub Scouts, served as president of the Junior Ladies Association, and acted as treasurer for the National Language Association. Currently, she still enjoys cooking for the local Filipino working moms in Yonkers in her spare time.

Illuminia retired as a librarian from the New York State Educational System in 1992, and her passion for education continued to burn bright. She is known around Loyola's campus as one of the most faithful and generous annual fund donors to the Monroe Library, which in the past was named by The Princeton Review as one of the top ten university libraries in the United States. Since 1999, she has been a faithful member of The Loyola Society, the leaders and supporters whom Loyola recognizes for giving $1,000 or more annually. 

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, she was inducted into the 2009 Golden Wolves Society at the Superdome. The Golden Wolves Society celebrates 50-year alumni of Loyola University New Orleans who have lived the Jesuit values for half a century in their personal and professional lives and have remained faithful and supportive members of the Loyola community.

Iluminada and alumni like her light the way, setting an example for current Loyola students, parents, alumni, and friends of the university. May her passion for education continue to inspire the next generation of Ignatian scholars.