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Loyola Loyalist prioritizes giving back

By Carla Beecher

Maddie Shearer (BA ’14) couldn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t regularly support today’s students, so she set up an automatic gift each month that fits her budget and her desire to provide a reliable and sustainable contribution to Loyola’s annual giving program.

“I received scholarship support, so I think it’s only right that I do the same for today’s students who otherwise might not be able to afford a college education,” said the Dayton, Ohio, native.

Even though Shearer graduated just five years ago, she already is a Loyola Loyalist—someone who makes a priority out of giving back to Loyola and does so each year.

“The monthly amount that is charged to my credit card is about the same as what a dinner out or a couple of movies costs,” she said. “While it’s not a great deal of money each month, it really does add up. And by the end of a year, it creates a substantial amount of student aid, especially when combined with gifts from others.” 

A graduate of the School of Communications, Shearer understands the power of philanthropy. She worked as a phonathon caller during all four years as an undergraduate. She also participated in the Wolf and Kettle Club, a student group focused on activities to promote generosity.

Given Shearer’s emphases on public relations and philanthropy while earning her Loyola degree, it’s no surprise that she landed a job at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently is assistant director of institutional relations.

She credits two professors in particular for instilling in her the importance of making professional connections. “I remember Professors Herb Ritchell and David Kamerer in the School of Communications, who told me to network as much as I could when I was graduating,” said Shearer. “I took their advice, and that’s how I got where I am today. They told me to use Chicago as a resource, and between that advice and venturing out on my own to meet a lot of great people—including Loyola alumni—I was able to make a connection at the Art Institute, and I love working here.”

In addition to her monthly recurring gift to Loyola, Shearer makes a point of remaining involved with her alma mater. She regularly helps at School of Communication events, including helping current students build their resumes.

She also promotes the internship position in her office to Loyola students. “It’s a great way to get experience at a world-renowned organization.”

And it’s another way for this young alumna to give back.