School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Major: Management, Class of 2014
Job: Executive director at the Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network
For LeRoy Chalmers, going back to school had a bigger effect on him than he ever could have imagined.
Chalmers was in the banking industry for more than 17 years, gradually moving up the ladder to vice president at a leading Chicago bank, when he decided to go back to school and earn his bachelor’s degree in management.
It was tough decision, laden by the fact that during Chalmers’s last year in 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 hard times and emerge successful.
“Loyola provided me with a community that not only encouraged my curiosity for learning, but also provided support for personal development and growth,” Chalmers said. “My teachers were not just mentors in class, but also gave me a counseling network outside of class to fall back on.”
After graduation, LeRoy quit his high-paying banking job and took a post as executive director at the Greater Roseland West Pullman (GRWP) Food Network, which combats food insecurity on Chicago’s South Side. Chalmers said his experience at Loyola helped trigger his move from corporate banking to the non-profit sector.
“Some of the classes at Loyola changed the way I approached life,” he said. “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.”
In his short time at the GRWP Food Network, Chalmers has spearheaded many successful campaigns—from hosting a successful farmers market to winning an award for the group’s first-ever Junior Achievement Program. And he’s not done yet.
“We have come a long way in the last year,” he said, “but we still have a long road ahead of us.”