Column: Loyola will improve further
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 18:09
As many people know I am from New Jersey (No, I don’t know Snookie. She is from Long Island). Hurricanes are not something we think about all that much in New Jersey. Although, at the end of last summer, Hurricane Irene did threaten the state and our colorful Governor told people they should “get the hell off the beach.”
Since moving to Loyola eight years ago, I have had four encounters with hurricanes. First, there was Ivan in 2004, my first year on the job. While we went on alert and closed, Ivan went to Florida. That was when I learned that much of New Orleans was below sea level.
My second year, 2005, there was Katrina. The devastation of Katrina is well-known and has been documented in books and movies. In 2008, Hurricane Gustav tested the city and its preparations and New Orleans did well. And now we have had Hurricane Isaac, a storm which came and stayed longer than an unwelcome guest.
I have been impressed by far more than the simple resilience of the people of this city. It is not just that people have “come back,” but it is how we have learned from these events and improved our situation. The city’s response during Isaac was a stark contrast to the response seven years ago. Likewise, Loyola’s response has continued to improve and develop.
I am very grateful and proud of how our faculty and staff responded. I am most grateful for how our Physical Plant Staff, Residential Life Staff, and Loyola University Police Department responded to the challenges of Isaac. And I am grateful to Stephen Murphy, our new Emergency Manager, who joined us over the summer for his thoughtful leadership.
Can we improve? Absolutely! I have pointed out in the past that there is a Jesuit practice called the Examen. In the midst of the daily business of life, a Jesuit is asked to pause and review what has gone on and to look to the future. It is a way to help us find God in the midst of our lives. In the same way, we as a Jesuit institution,should always look back on what has been done, learn from it and then improve.
In the year ahead, we will have many events which will celebrate Loyola’s centennial and the achievements of our past. Our mission commits us to “teaching, research, creative activities and service, the faculty, in cooperation with the staff, strives to educate the whole student and to benefit the larger community.” This year, as we celebrate our past, we have a natural opportunity to reflect on our mission and ask how we can do it better.
Father Wildes is president of Loyola university and can be reached at email@example.com
On The Record is a weekly column open to any member of Loyola’s faculty and staff. Those interested in contributing can contact firstname.lastname@example.org