Spotlight: Robert Reed
Administrator has made Loyola “home” to students for nearly 30 years
Robert Reed, assistant vice president for student affairs. Wolf Magazine
Robert Reed never imagined his friend's suggestion to become a resident assistant would turn into a 28 yearlong career.
Robert Reed, assistant vice president for student affairs, served Loyola as director of residential life from 1981 to 2009. Reed said Biever and Buddig Halls were the only two residence halls available to students when he stepped on to Loyola's Residential life scene.
Reed said he joined the Loyola team after serving as assistant residential life director for Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He said he never imagined he'd still be at Loyola.
"I'm a dinosaur in a sense. I sort of grew up here and didn't expect to be at Loyola this long," Reed said.
Reed said he enjoys being a problem solver and working with people.
During the 21 years he reigned as Loyola's president, James C. Carter, S.J., president emeritus and Gerald N. Gaston distinguished professor in religion and science, said he saw that Reed's dedication was wonderful, and that Reed could solve any problem thrown his way.
"He made the life of everybody above him much easier," Carter said.
Carter said men and women living in the same building happened during his presidency. He said parents weren't too happy about it, but Reed knew how to handle it.
"I let people like Robert Reed take care of it," Carter said.
Reed said that it was certainly an interesting experience.
"Most of the parents of students thought I had committed a cardinal sin of some type," Reed said.
Reed said men were typically placed in Biever Hall and women lived in Buddig Hall, but one year posed a problem because more women signed up for residential halls than men. So Reed converted Biever's sixth floor into housing for women, giving them the title, "sixers."
"They enjoyed their experience so much that none of them moved back to Buddig that academic year," Reed said. "From that point on, we were able to flip the building based on the gender."
Carter said they desperately needed more residential space as more out of state students started flocking to Loyola. He said the university bought St. Mary Dominican College in 1984 when it shut down, turning the property in to what is now the Broadway Campus and Cabra Hall.
"We were terribly cramped," Carter said. "So we were happy to get it."
Reed said Cabra Hall's 60's exterior and interior definitely needed a makeover.
Ansel Augustine, A'00, M.P.S. '02, said students dreaded being placed in Cabra Hall during his Loyola days.
"It was the place that no one wanted to live at the time due to its cramped quarters," Augustine said.
Unfortunately, the university needed beds, delaying Cabra's renovation, but Reed said he's thrilled with the newly renovated hall. The hall Unfortunately, the university needed beds, delaying Cabra's renovation, but Reed said he's thrilled with the newly renovated hall. The hall went from 213 beds to 163 beds, then transformed to eight- person suites to two people in each room and finally evolved into six person suites with a kitchen.
Another major change was incorporating Carrolton Hall to the residential life family in 1999.
"It was great building apartments available to upperclassmen students," Reed said.
Augustine said Carrolton hall was finished during his time at Loyola, and he spent his senior year living in their suite with his friends.
"It was an awesome experience and we were blessed for all of us to share community in this way," Augustine said.
Augustine worked as a desk assistant during his undergraduate years at Loyola. He said Reed was awesome to work for because he created a family atmosphere.
"He was always there for his staff and students as a person that wanted all of those who worked under him to succeed," Augustine said.
Reed said there have been many major changes that have taken place during his time at Loyola that could easily be overlooked.
"A lot of things look like they've been in place forever, but they haven't," Reed said.
For instance, Reed said Biever Hall has new windows and bigger rooms. The once color-coded floors in the residence hall no longer have two separate rooms for the toilet and shower facilities.
Reed said the biggest change was getting new air condition systems, especially with New Orleans' unpredictable weather.
Craig W. Beebe, director of Residential Life, said Reed is a vital member of the Loyola community and one of the most recognizable and respected people on campus.
"Mr. Reed is a pillar of this university," Beebe said. "He loves this university deeply, and that love shines through every day in his work."
Reed said sometimes God has a plan for you, and he's thankful for the route his career path ended up taking.
"It was one of those things were I would've never predicted it," Reed said. "I never knew that this was even a profession."
Diana Mirfiq can be reached at email@example.com
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