Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Wildes Thanks GU for Relief Help

Father Kevin Wildes, S.J., president of Loyola University in New Orleans, thanked Georgetown for admitting displaced students from the Gulf Coast during a reception yesterday in the Leavey Center.

Wildes, a former assistant dean at Georgetown, expressed his gratitude almost two months after Georgetown’s acceptance of nearly 70 emergency transfer students from Loyola, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which rendered the university uninhabitable.

“I want to thank Georgetown for its hospitality to our students,” Wildes said, prompting applause from the audience. “There are 28 other Jesuit schools in the nation, and they set an example for other private and public universities to open doors to our students.”

Across the country, over 6,000 Loyola students are temporarily enrolled at dozens of schools while New Orleans cleans up from the effects of Katrina. Wildes said that despite the catastrophic damage that the city sustained, Loyola escaped much of the flooding.

“I was on campus through the storm and . we were very fortunate,” he said. “We sustained some damage but not a lot of damage. . We were also fortunate that the flooding from the levee break didn’t come to campus.”

Wildes gave an optimistic assessment of the school’s future, saying that classes would begin again early next year. He also introduced a modified school calendar designed to give students an opportunity to make up lost time.

He said, however, that Loyola faces more immediate problems as it prepares to reopen for the spring semester.

“Probably about 60 percent of our faculty and staff were impacted by the hurricane and flooding,” Wildes said. “I have been working with FEMA on providing alternative housing for people, and in a more successful way, working with Tulane . to open up a charter school so our faculty and staff have educational opportunities for their kids when they get back.”

Wildes said that he held yesterday’s reception to call attention to the financial toll that Katrina imposed on the university and bring in donations for the relief fund he established for the school.

“We do face real needs,” Wildes said. “One reason was to get info out and respond to questions, but we also need help, which is why I established the [Loyola] relief fund.”

Wildes said that the commitment to continue to pay the faculty and staff in full, which he made shortly after Katrina struck and costs over $30 million, has compounded the university’s financial situation, but that he does not regret the decision.

“I have no doubt it was the right thing to do,” he said

Trish Moser, director of alumni relations at Loyola, was among those traveling with Wildes on his cross-country tour. Moser lost her house in the hurricane.

“The Jesuit universities were wonderful in opening their doors to our students,” Moser said. “Over 70 Loyola students are in the D.C. area, with the majority staying at Georgetown.”

After being relocated to Georgetown, Loyola freshman Florence Farris organized Wolfpacks at Georgetown University to help lead local fundraising efforts for the Loyola relief fund.

Calling the transition “difficult,” Farris remarked on the differences between Loyola and Georgetown. “Everyone’s been really hospitable, but I find it a bit colder weather-wise and atmosphere-wise,” Farris said. “I met some really cool people, though.”

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