Loyola University Chicago

Neighborhood Initiatives

Jennifer Clark

Director of Neighborhood Initiatives

Jennifer sets the overall direction for Neighborhood Initiative’s role in the communities that host Loyola’s campuses. She personally works to ensure that the voice of the neighborhood community is heard in University decision-making and, similarly, that the University is a welcome leader in its communities. She facilitates campus-community strategic planning, community infrastructure improvements, communications, and special events. 

Jennifer is the primary architect of Loyola’s Anchor Mission. She believes that Loyola’s engagement with the local community must not only benefit students but also improve quality of life for residents. She seeks opportunities for Loyola to assist the City of Chicago with economic development that increases community wealth, prioritizes the local economy, invests in equitable k-12 educational outcomes, and prioritizes its response to climate change. She continuously strategizes ways in which new Loyola investment could catalyze neighborhood vitality and designs campaigns that benefit both the University and Chicago’s residents. 

Jennifer is a founding member and currently serves on the executive committee of the board of directors of America’s Urban Campus, which is a coalition of Chicago’s nonprofit colleges and universities. In this role she works to ensure that Chicago is recognized as a national destination for higher education. She believes that the success of the City of Chicago cannot be separated from the success of its institutions of higher education.  

She also represents Loyola to the board of directors of the Magnificent Mile Association which works to ensure the community of Loyola’s Water Tower Campus remains an exciting destination for tourists and an accessible and affordable amenity for Chicago residents. 

Prior to joining Loyola University, Jennifer worked for the Chicago Public Schools as a high school teacher, the Chicago Police Department as a community organizer, and the Chicago Park District as the Clarendon Community Center director in the Uptown neighborhood. She was also a member of the adjunct faculty in the Loyola School of Communication from 2004-2006.  

Jennifer has a B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University, a M.Ed. from DePaul University, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University Chicago. She also has a certificate from the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard/MIT/Tufts University Consortium and an Excellence in Leadership certificate from the Rockhurst University.  


Jennifer authored Loyola University’s Assisted Housing program that incentivizes employees to live near work and near public transit in order to reduce the carbon footprint caused by commuting. She ensures that Loyola includes affordable rental housing in new developments and that more than 50% of retail tenants are independently owned local businesses.  

She was part of the two-person team responsible for the 2005 Devon-Sheridan tax increment financing district and Loyola’s unique redevelopment agreement. This allowed for a $60 million renovation to a national historic landmark building on campus while simultaneously delivering $500 million in taxable residential and retail development to the neighborhood.  

Jennifer represented Loyola to two Chicago Aldermen and the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood in a bid to develop two high rise buildings at the Water Tower Campus. The unusual multiple-owner planned development allowed Loyola to build the Kathy and John Schreiber Center which is home to the Quinlan School of Business. It is recognizable because of its 9-story glass atrium and the Gorman Family Great Stairs which serve as a gathering place for students, a makeshift auditorium when needed, and a legally required emergency exit.  

In 2014, she negotiated a community benefit agreement worth $13 million in transit and pedestrian safety improvements to the Loyola CTA Station; the design of which she reimagined.  

She successfully managed Loyola’s successful acquisition of a 33,000sf public street from the City of Chicago for a purchase price of $1 with unprecedented community and government support. She re-designed the original real estate transaction into the St. Ignatius Community Plaza concept that became a campaign for environmental sustainability by eliminating curb-and-gutter infrastructure, adding permeable pavement, extending the Chicago bike route, planting only native vegetation, and installing signage to educate the public about the ways in which Loyola addresses climate change.  

Jennifer has served on the volunteer boards of directors of the following organizations; AIDS Foundation of Chicago (secretary), Edgewater Chamber of Commerce (chairman), Howard Area Community Center, Northside Community Resources, and Sacred Heart Schools. 

Call on Jennifer for big-picture planning issues and community collaborations. She can be reached at jclark7@luc.edu.