Loyola University Chicago welcomed Mark C. Reed in a series of events on Nov. 3.
The Loyola University Chicago community welcomed Dr. Mark C. Reed as its 25th president in an inaugural installation ceremony Nov. 3.
Celebrations began at 10 a.m. with a mass in his honor at the Madonna della Strada Chapel on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus (LSC). Events continued with the inauguration ceremony in Gentile Arena at 2 p.m. followed by a community reception in Damen Student Center at 3:30 p.m.
Reed began officially working at the university on Oct. 1 following former President Jo Ann Rooney’s departure, The Phoenix previously reported. He was announced as the next president of the university on May 3 after being unanimously elected by Loyola’s Board of Trustees.
Reed was inaugurated and presented with the Chain of Office — a metal medallion which lists the name of each of Loyola’s prior presidents — by Susan S. Scher, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, and Rev. Karl J. Kiser, S.J.
In the morning, Reed received a blessing from members of Loyola’s Jesuit Ministry during the service at Madonna Della Strada and gave out the eucharist to attendees during communion.
The inauguration ceremony began with remarks from provost and chief academic officer Margaret Faut Callahan, who served as the master of ceremony.
“At this historic moment of change, the Loyola community and civic leadership comes together to welcome our new president,” said Callahan, addressing the audience.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese, opened the ceremony and gave a blessing, praying for the university community and Reed.
Illinois Speaker of the House of Representatives Emanuel Chris Welch spoke and welcomed Reed on behalf of the state of Illinois. He said he appreciated Reed’s previous work in Increasing enrollment of first-year students of color.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion is always one of my top priorities and it is certainly my understanding, from studying your history, that it is something that you value,” said Welch, the first Black Speaker of the House.
Reed was previously the 28th president at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, serving for seven years as their first non-Jesuit president.
At St. Joseph’s, Reed focused on diversity, inclusion and equity by increasing the percentage of first-year students of color and by opening a dedicated space for underrepresented groups on campus, according to a May 3 press release from Loyola.
Before presenting Reed with the Chain of Office, Scher acknowledged how his “outstanding track record” has prepared him well to serve at Loyola.
Reed said he was “extremely moved” and “overwhelmed” by the day’s events and thanked students, faculty, and distinguished guests who were in attendance.
Reed recounted how he has watched over the years as Loyola has become a leader in Jesuit education and a leader among other American universities.
During his speech, Reed got choked up as he thanked his wife Kate and two daughters, adding he could not do this job without their “unconditional love and support.”
Junior Josanee White said she appreciated how Reed brought up his family and their support during his remarks.
“I like how he brought his whole family into the community and involved them in the ceremony,” White, a social work major, said. “So it wasn’t just one name.”
Following applause from attendees, Reed thanked previous presidents for their work building a strong foundation for the university, including Rooney for her recent “graciousness and support” during the presidential transition.
Reed also explained how thankful he is for his educational background and work experience in Jesuit institutions.
“I am a product of Jesuit education and have years of experience at Jesuit institutions,” Reed said. “I remain immensely grateful for the ways it has helped shape me.”
Elisha Soberal, a junior majoring in multimedia journalism, who attended the ceremony said the portion of Reed’s speech where he discusses his background in Jesuit education stood out to her.
“I really like that he has a lot of respect for the Jesuit beliefs,” Soberal said.
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM has been at Loyola for the last five presidents. This includes Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J., John J. Piderit, S.J., Michael J. Garanzini S.J., Rooney and now Reed. Piderit was the only former president in attendance.
She said she has seen Loyola adapt throughout the years.
“A president has to change with the institution and stay up to date with the changes in society so we know what we are doing with young people,” Schmidt said. “I think we are going to be very good about that again.”
Reed said since he began working at the university, he has taken several opportunities to meet with student leaders and organizations on and off campus.
“In my discussions with Loyolans over the past few months, I sense confidence, a strong sense of our identity, values and direction,” Reed said.
Reed emphasized the importance of “being there” for students, noting Loyola’s Ignatian mission of accompaniment between Jesuit leaders and the wider community.
“For me, as president, accompaniment means staying engaged in collaboration with our campus and regularly going into the larger community to build relationships with partners and civic leaders to represent your work, our work, and acquire the resources that will generate opportunity and drive innovation,” Reed said.
Carly Fournier, a graduate student, said she hopes Reed lives up to his goal of being communicative and involved with students.
“The last month he’s been talking to a lot of students and organizations, and I hope that doesn’t stop now that he’s been sworn in,” Fournier said.
Following Reed’s speech, representatives from different faith backgrounds presented the final blessing. Prayers and readings from Judaism, Islam and Hinduism were read.
At the reception ceremony, Reed told The Phoenix he was grateful to finally see the university come together for the inaugural events and that the day was an opportunity to celebrate the university.
“Presidents are just normal people with an important job,” Reed told The Phoenix. “I hope people know that I care and I look forward to what is next.”
This article was written by Isabella Grosso, Jacob Danielson and Griffin Krueger
Featured image by Holden Green | The Phoenix