Loyola Magazine

A giving streak

Meet the donors who have given to Loyola for the most consecutive years

Many Loyola alumni make gifts to their alma mater every year.

But who are the alumni who have given a gift every single year—without missing once?

Loyola magazine did a little research and, according to University records, Loyola has five graduates who have made a gift every year for 42 consecutive years: Laurence Carton, ’69, John Degele, Sr., ’43, Thomas Kenney, Jr., ’63, Michael Plott, M.D., ’60, and Robert Roche, Jr., ’67.

Read on to discover what it is that makes them want to make a gift to Loyola year after year after year. (Unfortunately, we were unable to reach Degele for an interview.)

Laurence, Thomas, and Michael in group photo at the humanities manor porch.

Laurence Carton, ’69

During his first semester at Loyola, Larry Carton’s father passed away. He missed the final exams—and then the makeup finals. But Loyola made sure he was still able to take them.

After majoring in business at Loyola, Carton attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and then took a job with the Social Security Administration. He worked there for 26 years before retiring at age 48. In 1985, he met his future wife, Mical, at a meeting of a local computer club at the library.

Today the couple lives in his family home in Pikesville, Md. Mical buys and sells small antiques, and they travel together to shows.

“The school helped me out quite a bit,” he said about his annual gift to Loyola.

“Loyola supported me through the first semester, which was really a tough semester for me, with my family and the problems with our family business. If I had been at any other school, I would have been out. Loyola helped me; Loyola counseled me. I probably graduated in the bottom half of the school with a C or a C-. But I had that diploma, even though no one could read it because it’s in Latin.”

Thomas Kenney, Jr., ’63

Tom Kenney’s father, Thomas J. Kenney, Sr., graduated from Loyola College himself in 1932. He valued Jesuit education so much that he sent his son on a long bus ride each day to Loyola Blakefield.

When time came to choose a college, the younger Kenney chose Loyola, where he majored in history, taking courses with professors including Harry Kirwin, Ph.D., and Nicholas Varga, Ph.D., who became a mentor.

“Those years were full of good friends and good relationships,” said Kenney.

After completing his law degree at the Notre Dame Law School, Kenney took a position with Venable LLP, where he worked from 1967-2001. He then worked as corporate counselor at the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company until 2012, when he retired to care for his wife, Julia, who passed away about a year later.

Today Kenney lives at Oak Crest, a retirement community in Parkville, Md., where he is president of the model railroad club and plays the piano in one of the lounges every Friday evening. His two sons live in Colorado and Connecticut, and he has three grandchildren.

Kenney was surprised to learn he had made a gift every year for 42 years. He knew he had been supporting Loyola, though, and he knew why.

“Loyola did a lot for me. I really flourished there,” he said. “I was involved in many activities and sports, and it was just a great four-year experience.”

Michael Plott, M.D., ’60

After graduating from Loyola as a pre-med major, Michael Plott went to medical school at Georgetown University. He worked as a cardiologist for 24 years at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore before leaving private practice to work for 16 years at the Hampton VA Medical Center in Hampton, Va. He also served in the Army from 1965-67, including time in Vietnam.

Plott was a senior at Loyola Blakefield attending a May procession when he met his first wife, Marian Barzyk Plott, MSA ’61, who was a senior at Catholic High at the time. After 52 years of marriage and raising five children with Michael, Marian passed away in 2015. Four of their children have Loyola degrees: Pamela Plott Tenaglia, ’85, Karen Plott Welsh, ’86, Margaret Plott Brooks, ’88, and Jennifer Plott Healy, M.Ed. ’98.

Today Plott is married to his wife, Priscilla, whom he met after a Sunday Mass, and they live in Arnold, Md. They have 22 grandchildren, including granddaughter Caroline Brooks, who is a member of the Class of 2022.

“My giving is my expression of gratitude to Loyola for the generosity that they afforded me when I was a student there—not through scholarships, but in the generosity of the Jesuits and all my teachers,” Plott said.

“I felt that Loyola gave me an excellent education, not only an education for my future professional career, but also as an important vehicle in my spiritual, faith development and growth. I give because of that, and because it’s an opportunity for me to help present and future students.”

Robert Roche, Jr., ’67

Bob Roche’s father had attended Jesuit schools, so when it came time for Roche to choose college, he picked Loyola.

“I remember my father saying, ‘You can go anywhere you want for college, but if you want me to pay for it, it’s going to be Jesuit,” he said.

Roche, who walked a mile to catch a streetcar to get to the Evergreen campus every day, loved his philosophy classes, though he majored in accounting.

After graduating, he went to work in banking for the Union Trust Company, where he worked for 29 years, except for six months in the Army during the Vietnam War, and then moved to Key Bank.

Since retirement in 2005, he and his wife, Phyllis, have split their time between Florida and their home in Baltimore.

“Going to Loyola shaped my growth as a man and as a Christian,” Roche said. “The Jesuits taught you how to think and how to adjust to changing times in the world. It has served me well all my life.”

Roche believes he has been giving for longer than 42 years.

“I never gave a lot of money, but I remember they would call me up, and I would just give 25 or 50 bucks,” he said. “You people always called me. It’s not that I sought you out, but you sought me out.” And he has been happy to give: “It’s a good cause,” he said. “I would just do something, whatever I could afford.”

Consecutive Giving Society

Loyola is creating its first Consecutive Giving Society to recognize donors who make a gift to Loyola every year.

Beginning this summer, everyone who has given at least three years in a row will receive a small token of Loyola’s appreciation.

“Every gift matters every year,” said Liz Hertneck Stier, ’99, director of annual giving for Loyola.

“When more people make a gift each year, those gifts make a difference in many ways, but one is that our alumni participation rate goes up. That helps us receive more support from corporations and foundations, and it elevates the university’s ranking in U.S. News & World Report, which many prospective students and their families consider,” she explained.

“Giving every year also enhances the value of your Loyola degree and enhances the Loyola brand. It advances Loyola.”

Photo by Brian Hatcher, ’13