The word legacy
originates from Old French, meaning “a body of people sent on a mission.” For this College, the body of people began with one man, Bishop Mathias Loras, who settled in Dubuque and quickly founded what was then called St. Raphael’s Seminary. The seminary became a center of spiritual and vocational formation of young men and a place of instruction and mentoring by clerical teachers.
Though its name changed and the seminary added a liberal arts college, Loras’ foundation in faith endures, thanks in large part to the dedication and loyalty of its priests. They have offered spiritual and personal guidance to students, been agents and advocates of rigorous education and kept a focus on the sacraments at the community’s core. Long after St. Raphael became Loras College, priests served for decades as the primary faculty members and administrators. As the College’s “living endowment,” their small salaries allowed Loras to provide greater assistance to students.
Over the years, lay scholars and leaders gradually took the place of priests in the classroom and at the administrative table. These laity now comprise the majority of faculty and staff, dedicated and faithful educators carrying on the legacy of those who came before.
Today, while only four clergy teach and work on campus, the dedication of those called to the priesthood continues to infuse the Loras community. Archbishop Emeritus Daniel W. Kucera, O.S.B.
, a member of the Board of Regents from 1984 to 1995, recently helped encourage his fellow clerics to support the College by personally committing $50,000 to the general endowment as part of the Inspiring Lives and Leadership: The Loras Legacy
campaign. To date 43 estate and cash gifts and pledges totaling nearly $3.8 million toward the campaign have been received from priests. Currently, one in every six individuals who have named Loras as a beneficiary in their estate plans is a priest.
The dedication and support of these individuals is testament to the fact that the Loras community steadfastly remains “a body of people on a mission” – a legacy
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