A regular column by Athletic Director Bill Husak.
In Athletics, we often hear coaches and fans refer to Athletes as "difference makers." Difference makers are those athletes who change losers to winners, competitors to champions.
In truth, difference makers exist at many levels. They are coaches who bring in fresh attitudes. They are administrators and staff who offer bigger visions and renewed energies. I would like to focus on two difference makers in this column - one an individual and the other a group.
In July, Loyola University alumnus Richard "Duke" Weber died at the age of 89. He was also a graduate of Loyola High School and Loyola University. A recipient of the Purple Heart Medal as a member of the Third Marine Division where he held the rank of Major, Duke enjoyed a diverse career of real estate investment and education as a teacher at St. Monica's High School. Duke was a longtime fan of LMU, especially of Lion baseball. Through his estate, he generously gifted funds for athletics scholarships in his name, along with his good friend Hugh Boyle `43 and Brian Quinn `64. It was Weber's hope to help future students have the same Loyola experience he did. Duke was, is and will continue to be a difference maker for Athletics and those student-athletes who will be able to attend LMU because of his generosity.
The other difference maker is LionsFund. This summer, the annual kickoff campaign for the LionsFund raised a record $170,000 during the five-week effort. Gifts to LionsFund can have a direct and immediate impact on the success of the teams each year and can provide the extra "margin of excellence" to enable teams to rise above the competition. These gifts and the 55 volunteers who were involved are "difference makers". Let me share with you some of their accomplishments:
- The total amount of pledges and cash during the five-week effort increased 55.2 percent compared to 2006.
- The number of individuals who pledged jumped 49.9 percent, moving to 522 from 349 in 2006.
- There are 222 new or reacquired donors, up 91.4 percent from the 116 new/reacquired donors in 2006.
The run away individual winner of this year's Summer Drive is Andy Hui, a 1986 graduate of LMU. He led the volunteers with 1,925 points by helping sign more than 100 donors, 35 of which were new. LMU men's soccer assistant coach Matt Mennell was second with 737.5 points. This year's 2007 LionsFund Summer Drive Volunteers included Alex Bazley '08, Maria Behm, Matt Casana, Jessica Conner '05, June D'Amour, Ryan Eisberg '98, Matt Felt '04, Alex Galvan '82, Ray Gonzales '03, Allison Gustorf '01, Laura Gustorf '03, Danny Harper '05, Andy Hui '86, Stephanie Hybki '05, Liz Jennison '02, Rachelle Jones '02, Dan Judnick '05, Gigi Kurz, Matt Mennell, Joe Mock '06, Jeff Monohan '00, Amanda Patton '07, Margo Pineda '07, Eddie Quijada '69, Andy Quillope '69, Julie Reid '02, Kieran Reilly '84, Mike Riordan '87, Drew Roberts, Alicia Royal '08, Jamie Sanchez '75, Amanda Shellenberger '01, Will Sisk '06, Andy Sison '90, Rachael Ziemann '06, and Alissa Zito '02. Helping organize the Summer Drive and LionsFund events all year are the 2007 LionsFund Council Members, which include Joe Carroll '89, Steve Carter '75, John Gernert '82, Pamela Jones '92, Dave Kurt '64 Mike Kurz '76, Tom Morley '90 (Chair), Emilie Oliver '00, Judey Petix '95, Ron Russo '64, Alicia Royal '08, Joseph Sabol '96, Lysandra Sapp '00, Bill Sawin '90 Scott Schaller, Ray Watts '93, and Mardell Wrensch '96.
Difference makers come in many ages and from many parts of life. The one trait these people I have mentioned have in common is that they have shared the LMU experience, especially the Athletics one, and believe it is worthy of their support. Thanks to all who are difference makers!