The University’s third annual Weekend of Excellence kicks off this Friday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 21. The weekend is meant to showcase academic and civic work that Loyola students have conducted over the past year and features a number of important events, including the School of Communication Honors Reception, School of Education Research Symposium, 2013 Senior Exhibition, Undergraduate Research and Engagement Symposium, Spring Honors Recital, multiple performances of Urinetown, masses, and more. A number of student awards will also be distributed, including Maroon & Gold Society (for rising seniors), Damen Student Award (for any undergraduate), Damen Student Organization Award, and the “1870” Award (for rising sophomores).

Ann Marie Morgan, associate dean of students on the Water Tower campus, is co-chair of the planning committee for Weekend of Excellence. The committee is responsible for articulating goals of events and generating awareness and enthusiasm for the weekend. Morgan says she’s focused on bringing in a global aspect to this year’s celebration and is happy that the importance of the celebration continues to gain more recognition every year.

“Weekend of Excellence has really grown and now we have folks approaching us asking if they can hold an event, when before we were constantly asking them,” she says. “The whole schedule is meant to celebrate students and their accomplishments.”

Marian Claffey, PhD, associate provost for academic administration, is also co-chair of the Weekend of Excellence committee. She’s overseen the planning and execution of the weekend for the past three years. Claffey says that she’s excited for all the events during the full weekend, but doesn’t have a favorite.

“The events involve students across the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses, academic initiatives, as well as student development and leadership,” she says. “I have to say, coming from academic affairs, that I have particular enthusiasm for the research symposium on Saturday.”

In addition to celebrating student academic achievements, Weekend of Excellence also aims to show how students across campus are engaged in numerous extracurricular activities that allow them to discover and explore their unique talents and gifts beyond the classroom.

“I think what the weekend represents, coming when it does towards the close of the academic year, is a celebration of the culmination of academic work throughout the year,” Claffey says. “A student could be participating in a fine arts performance, a  research presentation, or a student organization, and it’s really an opportunity for us as a University to recognize student work and to celebrate that.”

For more on the weekend, including a full list of scheduled events, visit Here at Inside Loyola, we will be highlighting some of the excellent students involved with the Weekend of Excellence over the course of the next four days, so please keep an eye out for those student profiles.