People & Profiles

Q&A with alumni association president Joseph Sheils

A man wearing a blazer stands and smiles on the Loyola University Chicago campus with a blurred statue in the background

Joseph Sheils (BA ’90), the new president of the Loyola University Chicago Alumni Association (LUCAA), credits his strong liberal arts education at Loyola for his success as a financial services executive and for his calling to serve Loyola and the wider community.

“I majored in English and learned how to reason, think, and communicate effectively,” he says. “Most importantly, I learned how to learn. It opened up limitless paths for me.” Sheils brings that same brand of expertise and continual learning to his Loyola service. He’s been a LUCAA board member since 2019 and on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council since 2011. Sheils and his wife, Kate Evert, live in Chicago. They are parents of two children, Margaret and Ted (BA ’22), who served as student manager of the Ramblers men’s basketball team.

To what do you attribute your strong connection to Loyola University?

I am part of a four-generation family of alumni from Loyola University. My paternal grandmother graduated from Loyola in 1939, my father in 1973, I graduated in 1990, and my son graduated in 2022. We each found Loyola through our own unique path, but each credits Loyola with shaping who we became as people.

What makes Loyola special?

Some say Sister Jean. Some say the men’s basketball team. Many remember teachers and coaches and administrators that are dedicated to the student experience. It’s all of that and more. Loyola’s commitment to caring for the whole person—cura personalis—sets it apart from many other universities. Loyola continues to attract students who are the first in their families to attend college. And Loyola has never given up on the core, teaching our students to think critically, communicate effectively, behave ethically, and act justly.

Why is the alumni association important?

When a student graduates from Loyola, they are automatically members of a 190,000 strong association of alumni. Our mission is to help maintain the lifelong relationships our graduates have made with the university and each other.

What are the alumni board’s biggest challenges?

Finding compelling ways to engage a very large, very diverse group of alumni is one of our biggest challenges. The LUCAA, in close partnership with Alumni Relations, is committed to enhancing communication with alumni, providing more volunteer opportunities, encouraging participation at school-sponsored events, and fostering a desire for broader philanthropic giving to support the mission.

If alumni ask why they should get more involved with Loyola, what do you tell them?

It’s fun! Whether a commuter student like me, or if you lived on or just off campus for your time at Loyola, coming back to see the vibrancy of the school today is inspiring.

So what can alumni do to get more involved?

There are a myriad of ways to get involved with Loyola. Stop by campus if you are in Chicago. Attend a sporting event, a speaker series, or a play or concert put on by students. Or if you are not in Chicago, attend an alumni event in your city. Volunteer to be a mentor via Loyola Linked. Check the Alumni Association website for activities and opportunities to engage with your alma mater.