It is early May, the sun is shining brightly, there will be no students lying on the grass or sitting in the Adirondack chairs sprinkled around the campus lawn. A glorious graduation will come and go: no longer students; they will be off to new and distant challenges. Endings of all kinds are often bittersweet. Endings present opportunities for a poignant look back and the anticipatory joy of what tomorrow might bring.
It is hard to believe that after 36 years of loving Loyola University New Orleans, Mr. Robert Reed, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, will be saying goodbye. Robbie’s last day in the office is June 30, 2017. It is undoubtedly true that he has been shaped by the values of the University and the University has, by equal measure, benefitted from his God-given talents, loyalty, and faithfulness.
When folks share what they love about Robbie, many mention the way he likes to linger on about stories that are decades old and capture the imagination of his listeners. He knows where all the proverbial bodies are buried! When he isn’t talking to himself as he walks down the hall (his way of committing things to memory), he can often be found in a colleague’s office discussing why the Saints can’t seem to beat the Falcons. People also admire and respect Robbie’s consistency. He does what he says he will do. He is a man of his word. One of Robbie’s greatest strengths is context. He sees more clearly than others how the past shapes the future. It’s like glancing in the rear view mirror every now and then to make sense of the current direction. His deep understanding of context as it relates to “all things Loyola” prevented me, new staff and students from making mistakes.
Robert “Robbie” Reed, came to Loyola from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. After earning his B.S. and M.Ed., he served at Slippery Rock for six years in a variety of capacities, including Coordinator of International Student Affairs, Assistant Director of Residential Life and Coordinator of Residence Hall Programs. From 1981-2009, he served as Director of Residential Life at Loyola University New Orleans. As the director, Robbie developed and implemented major construction, renovation, and remediation of residence halls; created the Loyola Student Cable Network; and initiated and developed the first card access security system which incorporated dining, facility access, bookstore, vending and laundry services for students.
In 2010, Robbie was appointed as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. He developed the Department of Student Conduct, which included maintaining and updating the student code of conduct, providing extensive training for judicial hearing boards, investigating Title IX cases, attending to student/parent responses to conduct issues and managing emergencies. He was the leader for emergency hurricane preparedness, evacuation team training and overall procedures. Robbie has achieved much for the Loyola community; he personifies “other duties as assigned.” More than this, Robbie has loved and has been loved by countless colleagues, students, parents, and co-workers. His spirit is genuine, true, steadfast, and compassionate.
God bless you leader, colleague, and friend, we will miss you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”