The Phoenix shadowed Loyola President Mark C. Reed to get an inside look at the busy ins and outs of his role as President.
The Phoenix shadowed Loyola President Mark C. Reed throughout his day Feb. 22 to get an inside look at the ins-and-outs of being the president of a university.
As president, Reed said he rarely sees the same day twice with his job requiring the push and pull of several different constituents and departments across the university.
“I’m not sure there is a typical day,” Reed said. “Most days start early and end late. When I get a day where I have a chunk of unscheduled time in the morning or afternoon, I really treasure it because, more often than not, most days bounce back and forth between a lot of different things.”
This particular day was no exception, as Reed was busy moving back and forth between meetings and events across Loyola’s campuses.
Reed began his day at 8 a.m. with a meeting with the Loyola Governance and Trusteeship Committee at his office at the Water Tower Campus (WTC).
“We don’t have Board of Trustees committee meetings everyday, but we happen to have two of them today,” Reed said.
Reed then met with The Phoenix at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the intricacies of his daily life. Despite the gray and rainy weather, sitting in a large conference room at the Office of the President on the 15th floor at Lewis Towers, Reed expressed his love of the view.
“We’re sitting here in a conference room and you’re looking out at the Water Tower Campus, and I can see the lake,” Reed said. “How could you not like looking out at Lake Michigan?”
After a 30 minute interview with The Phoenix about his role as president and his experience at Loyola, Reed received a five minute warning before his next meeting. He then ran to grab a quick cup of coffee and was off to his next activity.
At his second Board of Trustees meeting of the day, Reed met with the Executive Committee. Reed then attended a faculty meeting for the Quinlan School of Business at the Schreiber Center at WTC.
Later in the afternoon, Reed attended an Ash Wednesday evening mass at Madonna della Strada Chapel on the Lake Shore Campus (LSC). Reed first interacted with Jesuit, Catholic education in high school when attending St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, and has focused on the advancement of the Jesuit, Catholic mission in the institutions he has served in, according to his university biography.
Halfway through the mass, Reed distributed ashes to a line of students and other attendees.
Near the end of the service, Reed served as a Eucharistic minister for a line of students and other attendees. Reed said that serving as a Eucharistic minister, a person who hands out the body of Christ during mass, is one way he enjoys being a part of the Loyola community.
“I would say every time that I go to a mass at the university, I try whenever I can to be a Eucharistic minister,” Reed said. “I do think it’s important as the president and as a director of the work and the lingo of the Society of Jesus that I be visible in the pastoral and sacramental life of the institution.”
After mass, Reed went straight to Ireland’s Pub in the Damen Student Center for a pre-game reception. While there, he visited with Law & Health Sciences alumni.
Reed then attended the men’s basketball game against the Fordham University Rams later that evening, sitting across from the student section.
He said some of his favorite moments as president so far have been seeing school spirit at basketball games, as well as getting to meet many people and being a part of the community.
“This hasn’t been as great a year, for example, for our teams as the last five have been, but I’ve got to tell you, I have been so impressed with our student body,” Reed said. “They come out, they still cheer for the team and they’re there. Visiting institutions notice it, our athletic conference notices it — students don’t quit on their fellow students.”
During the game, Reed spoke with the Athletic Director Steve Watson and a number of others around the stadium. After a loss to the Rams decided in the last minute, Reed’s day came to an end.
“Between board, faculty, students, athletics — it just varies from day to day,” Reed said. “And that’s the fun part.”
Reed said he doesn’t get to interact with students as much as he would like to on campus, but he has recently established an office at Loyola’s LSC which allows him to connect with the Loyola community more.
“One of my favorite things to do is to stand at the intersection on Sheridan Road where everyone crosses the street to go from one side of campus to the other,” Reed said. “At certain times of day, it’s just packed.”
Over the last five months, Reed said he has spent most of his time at the WTC, where his main office is located but still travels back and forth between all campuses.
“I have spent more time at the Water Tower Campus, Lake Shore Campus second and Health Sciences Campus third,” Reed said. “I have yet to make it to our Rome Center campus, but I have a short trip planned there in March.”
Reed said his goal with creating an office at LSC in the Sullivan Center is to spend more time at other Loyola campuses. The location of the president’s office at WTC goes back decades, according to Reed.
“I hope in the future to do something that I did for years at my previous institutions, which is that I’d love to teach a class again,” Reed said. “While I can’t do that in my first year — too many things to do and settle in — but for me that’s been the most enjoyable way that I’ve gotten to know students over the years, by having a classroom.”
In his short time as president, Reed said he has enjoyed the wide range of opportunities and roles which come with the job.
“I get asked all the time as president, ‘What’s your vision for Loyola?’” Reed said. “But really, the better question is for me to ask you, ‘What’s your vision?’ As president, I’m arguably the one individual if you had to single out a single person who really has the entire institutional lens and perspective. And that’s what I really enjoy.”
This story was written by Grace Mooney and Hunter Minne
Featured image by Hunter Minne