1912 was a big year. The RMS Titanic embarked on its first and last voyage. Woodrow Wilson defeated Teddy Roosevelt in the 1912 Presidential Election. New Mexico and Arizona became U.S. states. In New Orleans, 1912 was an important year for different reasons. On July 12, 1912, Loyola College was officially chartered as a university and became Loyola University. Now 100 years later, Loyola is the thriving Jesuit University that its founders had hoped to establish.
Though many current students were aware that this was Loyola’s Centennial year, it soon became impossible to ignore. Golden “100s” now cover campus- residence halls, academic buildings, and even the Freret Street parking garage has a giant Centennial banner hanging on it! My favorite Centennial “100s” though, are on the lamp posts all along St. Charles Avenue. Each time I drive down the oak-lined street, I am reminded once again that the Centennial isn’t just a campus-wide celebration- the city of New Orleans is very much celebrating along with us.
Over the years, Loyola and New Orleans have provided thousands of students with homes, jobs, friendships, memories, and of course an outstanding Jesuit education. It is so humbling to go on the Centennial website, browse through the exhibits in the library, or to read the Centennial issue of The Maroon and look through hundreds of decades old photographs and stories of Loyola. Most of the pictures and stories are of Loyola students doing the same sorts of things we do today in some of the same places we do them. As modern students, it can be easy for us to forget how blessed we are to attend a University that has been graduating “men and women with and for others” for one hundred years. But one thing that we Loyola students will never forget is the amazing opportunities that our time at Loyola University New Orleans has provided us with, whether they be academic, social, spiritual, or cultural.
Happy 100th, Loyola! You’ve never looked better.