At Lakefront Airport, Ignatian Circle Donors Thanked for Keeping Jesuit Soaring

Posted August 18, 2014 / Last updated August 22, 2014

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John '73 and Amy Combes, Mark '73 and Joy Spansel, and Judy and Jose Abadin enjoy the Ignatian Circle Reception at the Lakefront Airport.

John ’73 and Amy Combes, Mark ’73 and Joy Spansel, and parents of alumni Judy and Jose Abadin enjoy the Ignatian Circle donor reception at Lakefront Airport. (Photos courtesy of Dottie Loupe and Loupe Photography.)

Jesuit offered its profound thanks to almost 200 patrons who landed at Lakefront Airport on Sunday evening, Aug. 17 for the school’s Ignatian Circle donor event.

Parents, alumni, and friends enjoyed delicious food from Messina’s, music provided by the Gregory Agid Trio, and a 747-sized helping of Blue Jay camaraderie. Agid, who is an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, is a 2005 alumnus.

The presentation began with a warm welcome and brief history lesson about the facility from Tom Bagwill, Jesuit’s director of institutional advancement. Lakefront Airport was the first major airport in the region and opened in the mid-1930s under the name Sushan Airport. The facility was used as a Cold War bomb shelter in the 1960s. Bombs did not destroy it, but Hurricane Katrina did. The facility was eventually restored and reopened and remains one of the busiest general aviation airports in the South.

Jesuit president Fr. Anthony McGinn, S.J. ’66 offered his heartfelt thanks to benefactors who filled The Walnut Room.

“As I told our students on opening day, I am approaching the new school year with an attitude of gratitude,” said McGinn. “So, I thank all of you for your many gifts and continued generosity.”

Members of the Ignatian Circle were also recognized for the time they spend volunteering and leading at Jesuit, as well as in the broader community.

Fr. McGinn thanked his predecessor, Fr. Raymond Fitzgerald, S.J. ’76, who served as Jesuit’s president from 2012-2014. Fr. McGinn noted with appreciation that Fr. Fitzgerald led Jesuit’s effort in creating a strategic plan that addresses continued academic achievement, facility modernization, and enhanced spiritual and leadership formation opportunities — all with an emphasis on human interaction.

Frs. McGinn and Fitzgerald were joined by other Jesuits, including Frs. Norman O’Neal and Nicholas Schiro ’44, Brothers William Dardis ’58 and Terry Todd ’58, and scholastic Mr. Julio Minsal-Ruiz.