After students head home for the holiday break, University faculty, staff, and retirees will stick around campus to celebrate the season at Loyola’s annual Christmas Luncheon, occurring Friday, December 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in the Gentile Arena and Norville Center.

Gary Soltys, human resources manager, says the luncheon is a time for employees working in different departments of the University to meet each other and relieve some stress.

“I think that as an institution often times we all work hard, long hours and we are in our own little niche, so this is an opportunity for Father Garanzini, as a host, to thank employees and retirees for their efforts,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to come together and celebrate the holidays and it’s a great way to put a face with a voice or name.”

Soltys says more than 1,000 people are expected to attend this year’s luncheon. There will be a holiday meal, games, door prizes, and more to entertain attendees and give them a well-deserved break.

Held in conjunction with the luncheon, University Staff Council is responsible for the planning and implementation of the annual Holiday Spirit Contest that has become a fun part of the Christmas Luncheon festivities. The Staff Council is calling all doodlers, artists, finger painters, and graphics wizards from several University departments to participate in decorating the front cover of a holiday greeting card.  The card must be on an 11″ x 17″ sheet of paper and be created electronically or by hand. All department holiday card designs will be displayed on white foam boards at the luncheon.

Travis Proffitt, community partnerships coordinator for the Center for Experiential Learning, says the card design contest was chosen in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

“It gives different departments an opportunity to be creative. The card design cuts down on materials and helps us cut down on our carbon footprint,” Proffitt says.

The two departments with the winning holiday card design will have the opportunity to work with the Division of University Marketing and Communication to turn their design into an e-card for the 2013 holiday season. The card with the best integration of the Loyola Spirit will also win a $100 gift card for an office pizza party. To register to participate, send an e-mail to no later than Friday, December 7.

Proffitt also echoes Soltys’s sentiments that the luncheon is a great way to celebrate the Loyola community.

“We all work hard here and sometimes we end up staying in our departments throughout the semester. It’s important to come together for fellowship, see the people you don’t normally see during the semester, give thanks, and celebrate the holidays together,” he says.

For those driving to the luncheon, courtesy parking will be available in the Main Parking Structure, located at the south end of campus. For those not driving, complimentary shuttle service will be provided for those coming from, and returning to, the Water Tower and Maywood campuses. A shuttle will leave Corboy Law Center at 11 a.m. and Stritch School of Medicine/patient-visitor parking deck A at 10:30 a.m. Return shuttles will depart from the Halas Field at 2:15 p.m.

For more information about the annual Christmas Luncheon, please contact Gary Soltys at