LeRoy Chalmers


“The Business Ethics Class Really Messed Me Up – In The Most Wonderful And Life-Changing Way”

Class of 2014
Career Changer

For LeRoy Chalmers, an alumni of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Class of 2014, going back to school had a greater impact than he could have ever imagined.

LeRoy was in the banking industry for over 17 years, gradually moving up the ladder to Vice President at a leading Chicago bank, when he decided to go back to school and attain his BA in Management.

It was tough decision, laden by the fact that during LeRoy’s last year at school, he was the sole wage earner in the house, and also taking care of his ailing grandmother. But Loyola’s support system helped him power through the tough times and emerge successful.

Says LeRoy “Loyola provided me with a community that not only encouraged my curiosity for learning, but also provided support for personal development and growth. My teachers were not just mentors in class, but also gave me a counseling network outside of class to fall back on”

Upon graduation, LeRoy quit his high-paying banking job and took up a post as Executive Director, at the Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network (GRWP), Chicago, IL. The network provides a comprehensive and coordinated response to combating food insecurity in communities that make up Chicago’s South Side.

When asked about the trigger to what sparked that change of career, LeRoy credits it to his time and learnings at Loyola.

“Some of the classes at Loyola changed the way I approached life. The Business Ethics class in particular opened my eyes to the fact that if I am not part of the solution, then I am part of the problem

Apart from the Business Ethics class, subjects like Organizational Development and Interpersonal Communication, also added to LeRoy’s changing mindset for wanting to be a part of something for the greater good. Moreover, the Jesuit values that are so deeply ingrained in Loyola’s teaching culture, supported this new sapling of thought that LeRoy had.

“The Organizational Development class made you truly reflect on the kind of person you are. I remember the corridor outside the Student Union at Loyola had these pictures of nuns and social workers that were murdered in El Salvador. And it kept taking me back to memories of seeing that incident on TV. And it made me think – What am I doing to help? This thought not only triggered my ideas for projects and assignments in the Org. Development class –I think it also brought me here to GRWP”

Looking back on his time at GRWP, LeRoy reflects with pride on his accomplishments in the short span of one year. From hosting a successful farmer’s market to winning an award for their first ever Junior Achievement Program, LeRoy has spearheaded many successful campaigns.

Says LeRoy “We have come a long way in the last one year. But we still have a long road ahead of us. Some of the strategies I learned in my Communication and Persuasion classes at SCPS, still help me when I am planning a fundraising pitch or a new venture”

LeRoy is excited about the network that Loyola offers to alumni upon graduation. With the help of this network and his learnings at SCPS, LeRoy hopes to fulfill GRWP’s vision of developing sustainable communities where neighbors know their food, grow their food, and are the entrepreneurs and workforce powering local and larger, green economies.