The Founders' Dinner has its' roots in a celebration created over a half a century ago to honor the men and women who worked to build Loyola University Chicago into a thriving place of higher learning.
In 1959, President James F. McGuire, S.J. conceived an event to honor Arnold Damen, S.J. and the founding of our University. This was an opportunity to reflect upon what has made and what continues to make Loyola a superior institution of higher education. Awards given on this day honored alumni and friends that exemplify the hallmark of a Loyola education: leadership and service to others. The last Founders' Day was held in 1994.
In 2002, Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., renewed this storied tradition on the one-year anniversary of his appointment as the twenty-third President of Loyola University Chicago. Father Garanzini wanted to honor those who established Loyola, those who built on that foundation, those who give it life today and those whose vision looks toward the future.
The Founders' Dinner highlights the achievements of alumni that honored their alma mater through their community, corporate or philanthropic leadership. The Dinner is held on campus in a beautifully transformed Joseph J. Gentile Center. Guests are treated to an evening of entertainment that has included guest emcees, the always-popular Founders' Dinner Chorus and a live orchestra that plays throughout the evening. The Dinner benefits Loyola's Presidential Scholarships, a program that awards 4-year scholarships to academically qualified students.
Since 2002, over 80 alumni and friends have been honored at Founders' Dinner. The variety of awards includes the President's Medal, Heart of Loyola, Spirit of Loyola, Dux Mirabilis, Caritas, Coffey and Damen Awards.