Eimy Pena (’24)


Duhawks supporting Duhawks has been more evident than ever in 2020.

After Loras College began grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul Breitbach (’60) decided he and the other members of the College Board of Regents needed to respond.

“This was our time to step up to the plate and make a difference,” he said. “I concluded that because I’ve been blessed in many ways that I wanted to make sure that what I contributed was enough to get the attention of the rest of the Regents.”

His $250,000 gift helped establish the Regent Student Emergency Relief Fund that has raised $615,000.

“It was our way of showing some compassion for the situation a lot people find themselves in,” Breitbach said of Loras students and their families who have been furloughed or lost jobs and incomes because of the pandemic.

In addition to the efforts led by the Board of Regents, an anonymous donor challenged alumni, family and friends of the College to match any gift dollar for dollar, up to $500,000.

Hundreds of Duhawks have stepped up to help current students, such as Eimy Pena (’24) in support of the challenge gift. The goal to raise the challenge gift money was surpassed in late October.

Pena, a native of the Dominican Republic who grew up in Cicero, Illinois, says she would not have been able to attend Loras without the financial help from the Board of Regents and other alumni.

“I received a tremendous amount of financial support from Loras,” said Pena, who plans to major in biology or chemistry and play on the Duhawk softball team. The timing of the help was also important. “I found out about it when everything was happening with the pandemic,” Pena said. “I wouldn’t be here without that money.”

And her gratitude has only increased after her first few months at Loras. “Everyone is so friendly,” she said. “Everyone is always willing to lend a hand.”

Like most donors, Breitbach likes to know he is helping make a difference for Pena and other Loras students.

“It touches my heart to know there are people who are struggling and all they want is to make sure their son or daughter is able to get into college,” he said. “Without the money raised by the regents and other donors these parents would not have been able to do that at Loras. It is a very meaningful thing to know our help had an impact.”

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