The Loyola Blakefield community gathered in Knott Hall on the morning of Wednesday, September 12, to celebrate the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit—blessing the start of another school year and honoring Dan McNeal ’90, who died tragically in the World Trade Center Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001. School Chaplain Rev. Bruce Steggert, SJ, and Rev. Robert Hussey, SJ
, Provincial Superior of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, presided over Mass. After Mass, Bill Cole '90 provided his unique and heartfelt take on fellow classmate Dan McNeal. Watch his remarks here
To conclude the ceremony, Principal John Marinacci announced senior Mason Rush as the recipient of the 17th Annual Daniel W. McNeal Scholarship Award (see remarks below). Per tradition, Kitty McNeal (Dan’s mother) was on-hand to present the award, along with Dan’s nephew, Danny Sheeler ’20.
“The recipient of the 17th Annual McNeal Scholarship Award carries on Dan’s legacy as an exemplary Don in every aspect. He is not easily labeled or defined. He learns from his mistakes and understands the value of failing without accepting failure. Where others may find an obstacle, he finds a challenge. As a student, his schedule is filled with Honors and Advanced Placement courses, but what is genuinely remarkable about him is his willingness to wholeheartedly embrace his own diverse interests and then bring others along with him. There are so many places where he can be found as a leader on campus. He is managing editor of the school newspaper. He is captain of the football team and plays lacrosse. He plays piano and guitar and had the courage to take this musical creativity and share it with others, including his classmates, on the Talent Tour this past summer. Last year, when we were challenged by the ugliness of intolerance and racism, he was a vocal leader in his group with a message of acceptance and love. You will see him out and about campus, cheering on his fellow Dons or having a quiet conversation with a friend or a teacher. He loves being a Don, and he shows it every day in his words and deeds, and he encourages other students to do it in the best way they are able. In this way, he exemplifies the ideals that Dan McNeal brought forth being a man with and for others. Exemplifying what it means to be a Loyola Don in the same fashion that Dan did, it is my honor to present this year’s Dan McNeal Scholarship Award to senior Mason William Rush.”
The Daniel W. McNeal Scholarship Award is given in loving memory of Dan McNeal, member of the Loyola Blakefield Class of 1990, and recipient of the Loyola Alumni Medal. Dan died tragically in the World Trade Center Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001. A faculty member described Dan as the example of the man Loyola seeks to foster: involved, energetic, brimming over with enthusiasm for life and anything Loyola, and a friend to all he met. Dan led his life, giving of himself and thinking of others first. This award is given to that member of the junior or senior class who embodies the characteristics that we hold dear in Jesuit education—one who lives his faith in word and deed, displays academic excellence, is actively engaged in his community, and most of all, exemplifies being a man for others.