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Loyola to honor Erin O’Keefe, ’03, with Outstanding Leadership Award at special MLK event

Erin O’Keefe, ’03, director of the Center for Community Service and Justice and the York Road Initiative

Loyola will honor Erin O’Keefe, ’03, director of the Center for Community, Service, and Justice and the York Road Initiative, with the Outstanding Leadership Award during a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., virtual event jointly hosted by Saint Louis University, Loyola University Maryland, and University of San Francisco on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. 

The University selected O’Keefe for her work with faculty community engagement, building community partnerships, and racial justice and mission-oriented equity work throughout the pandemic.

“Erin’s steadfast commitment to connecting our University with our community partners during this past year has been extraordinary, said Robert Kelly, Ph.D., vice president and special assistant to the president. “Faith, equity, and excellence are among the leading values that illustrate Erin’s work and the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. In the midst of a pandemic, and in a summer and fall where the University was teaching and engaging students remotely, Erin strengthened our connections as a community. Her work made clearer our place as a university anchored in Baltimore.”

The cohosted event will feature Starsky D. Wilson of the Children’s Defense Fund as the keynote speaker. The theme for his speech is “Walking with the Excluded / Accompanying Young People in the Creation of a Hope-Filled Future.” Saint Louis University and University of San Francisco are also bestowing awards on honorees at the event, and O’Keefe and Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., will be among those offering brief remarks.

“Erin O’Keefe’s work demonstrates a deep commitment to the community that advances the diversity, equity and inclusion goals of Loyola University Maryland, and fully embraces the Jesuit Catholic charism, said Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Ph.D., chief equity and inclusion officer. “It is her work and the spirit with which she serves that represents the very best of us and is recognized and celebrated with the Outstanding Leadership Award.”

A 2003 graduate of Loyola, O’Keefe began working at the University in 2010 as founding director of the university’s York Road Initiative, a place-based community development initiative.

O’Keefe earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola, a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and is working on her Ph.D. dissertation in urban policy at UMBC. O’Keefe lives in Baltimore City and serves on the board of directors for Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO), the Place-Based Justice Network, and Mid-Atlantic Campus Compact. She has also served as a member of Loyola’s Board of Trustees.

To register for the event, visit The event is free, but pre-registration is required.