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Excellence in education: Alumna invests in the power of ideas and studying abroad
Mary Jo Bohr (JFRC ’71–’72, BA ’73), principal of MJBohr Communication, talks about her planned gifts to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Rome Center.
Q. You’re remembering the John Felice Rome Center in your estate plan. How would you like to see your gift used?
A. As a student there, I traveled extensively, made great friends, and learned so much. I’d like to see my gift used in any way that helps the Rome Center thrive.
Q. How do you see the Rome Center helping future generations of students?
A. By making possible experiences that are life-changing—everything from learning about other cultures, to exploring history up close, to opening one’s mind to new ideas. In so many ways, what the Rome Center offers students is both timeless and priceless.
Q. You’ve also earmarked a bequest to the College of Arts and Sciences. What are your hopes for that gift?
A. I’d like to help fund something like an idea hub, where students and faculty from all disciplines could relax, collaborate, and think of ways to fix stubborn problems.
Q: How do you see Loyola helping future generations of students?
A: By providing them a first-rate education and more. Loyola’s Jesuit identity is the special ingredient. It equips people to be well-rounded, of service to others, and meaningfully active in the world.
Q. Any thoughts for people thinking about a planned gift to the Rome Center?
A. The Rome Center Advancement team offers great resources and guidance. I was happy to learn that you can leave a general bequest or customize a gift to suit your interests.
Getting her words’ worth
For Mary Jo, it was an almost unconscious decision to make a career of “stringing words to-gether.”
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved words, word play, and the richness of the English language,” she says. “I feel lucky to work in the business world, helping leaders communicate with all kinds of audiences in fresh, memorable ways.”
She started her business, MJBohr Communication—which specializes in writing speeches for senior executives—in 2009. Before then, she was a communication executive at Peoples Energy (now Integrys), First Chicago/Bank One, LaSalle Bank, and W.W. Grainger.
She credits her Loyola education—including majors in English and Classical Studies, the honors program curriculum, and year of study at the John Felice Rome Center—with providing a terrific career foundation.
“I’ve always had great respect for the Jesuits,” she says. “I love their intellectual heft, their interest in developing the whole person, their focus on service to others.”
Mary Jo has contributed to Loyola in many ways over the years. A charter member of the Council of Regents, she currently serves on the National Alumni Advisory Board and the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Among her hobbies are golf, travel, and writing jokes and puns. Her material has appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.
She says she loves injecting humor in the speeches she crafts for business leaders. “Humor—especially if it’s self-deprecating or situational—is a great way for a speaker to connect with an audience,” she says. “It makes him or her more likeable, more real, more human. Plus, it helps everyone in the room relax.”
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