Loyola Magazine

An eye on the future

New chairman of the board of trustees shares his hopes for Loyola

As a high school student growing up just outside Baltimore, Jim Forbes, ’80, knew Loyola as a small school with a fine academic reputation. He came to Loyola, graduated with a degree in business administration, and started his career in finance in New York City.

Now Vice Chairman for UBS Group Americas, Forbes and his wife, Hollis, have been generous supporters of Loyola scholarships in the Sellinger School and Greyhounds athletics, funding the enhancements to Forbes Court in Reitz Arena. In August Forbes was unanimously elected chairman of Loyola’s Board of Trustees.

Loyola magazine invited Forbes to share his thoughts on his new leadership role and his hopes for Loyola in the future.

Jim Forbes stands with his arms crossed in front of humanities mansion.

How has your Loyola education helped you personally and professionally?

Loyola introduced me to the Jesuit tradition of introspection and discernment and the ability to look at an issue from different viewpoints. That has helped me a great deal. The core curriculum, in terms of its emphasis on writing skills, verbal communication, and liberal arts, allowed me to be a more thoughtful communicator. The grounding in philosophy and ethics and theology helped shape me and gave me a more thoughtful, ethical approach to decision making.

When people hear “Loyola University Maryland,” what do you hope they think of?

I hope they think of a strong university that has a combination of traditional educational values melded with a curriculum for the 21st century.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for change for Loyola?

What we are focusing on now is how Loyola shapes the graduates of 2020 and beyond—a combination of our curriculum, our facilities, and new programs. We need to make sure that we continue to embrace the Jesuit ideals of Loyola, but also help shape our students for their careers of choice.

What is something you would never want to change about Loyola?

Strong Truths Well Lived. We want to maintain the Jesuit precepts and core that have always been present in a Loyola education.

What are issues you are focusing on as a leader?

My two main concerns are affordability and making sure our curriculum is relevant. In the next 10 years, higher education faces a declining number of high school graduates. And the cost of a college education is rising to enormous levels. You have students who have parents going into significant amounts of debt to get them through college. How does our curriculum adapt to the needs of those students moving forward? When I met with faculty when I came to campus, I told them that what I lose sleep over is that we have very qualified students who want to come to Loyola and they can’t afford to come. How do we make a Loyola education affordable and relevant to those students?

What do you foresee in Loyola’s near future?

We will be renovating and expanding Beatty Hall and growing our Career Center, which is very important to our students and their parents. I’d like us to continue to build upon a diverse student body. I’d also like to see our athletic program continue to achieve success.

What do you want the Loyola community to know about the Board of Trustees?

I want people to know that the Board is not just this black-box, amorphous thing. It’s made up of individuals who are dedicated to helping Loyola. There’s a face to the Board here. We want to listen to faculty and students and other members of the community and find out what’s going on in their lives, hear their concerns. We are all asking how we can ensure that Loyola remains a vibrant, growing university. That is what the Board is focused on, how Loyola will stay relevant in the future.

Photo by Chris Singlemann, ’17.