At the end of June, Rev. Partick E. McGrath, SJ, will conclude his tenure as president of Loyola Academy and become pastor at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in downtown Chicago. Throughout his thirteen years at the Academy, Fr. McGrath has led Loyola with enthusiasm and a deep care for the school community. Under his leadership and vision, Loyola Academy successfully completed The Second Century Campaign, which supported a master plan of improvements for the school’s campus and programming. Throughout the spring, a series of events were held at LA to honor and celebrate Fr. McGrath.
On Friday, April 29, the Loyola community dedicated the day “Father’s Favorites”—celebrating all of Fr. McGrath’s favorite things. Students wore t-shirts with a photo of Fr. McGrath on the front. The back displayed a quote from Fr. McGrath’s favorite poet, Mary Oliver. Beautiful balloon bouquets of maroon and gold adorned the hallways. During passing periods, students listened to some of Fr. McGrath’s favorite songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra.
During lunch periods, school-wide activities continued with a pizza party in the Piazza. Outside, a battle-of-the bands competition featured student-led bands “bugfaxx” and “Mark’s House.” The bands played a variety of music and genres, even performing original songs. A viewing party for Fr. McGrath’s favorite movie, “Moonstruck,” was held in the student center.
The day culminated with a pep rally-style assembly in the East Gym. Gathered together, the school community formally thanked Fr. McGrath for the role he has played in advancing Loyola’s unique Jesuit mission. To show their appreciation, each class presented Fr. McGrath with a special gift to remind him of Loyola: a custom Ramblers baseball jersey from the seniors, a Greektown gift basket from the freshmen, a basket of his favorite Italian foods from Taylor Street from the sophomores, and a clapper board from the juniors.
As a final farewell, a special dinner was held for Fr. McGrath in the Piazza with student ambassadors on Friday, May 13. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to celebrate and say “thank you!” to an educator and leader who has done so much for the Loyola community.