By Patricia Murret, Contributing writer
The late Maedell Hoover Braud, who worked at Loyola University New Orleans for more than 30 years as an administrative assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences, has left a $10 million legacy gift to the university that will be used to provide scholarships for undergraduates and law students.
The university made the announcement Dec. 4. Braud, a parishioner of St. Pius X Parish in New Orleans, died in March.
“Maedell Hoover Braud brought nearly a lifetime of blessings to Loyola, where our motto is ‘men and women with and for others,’” said Jesuit Father Kevin W. Wildes, Loyola’s president. “Her generosity of spirit, loving nature and commitment to service have always been evident through her work here on campus and her many good works throughout the community.”
Future scholars to benefit
Father Wildes said the gift would ensure that scholarships for undergraduate and law students “will be enjoyed for generations. Our entire community is grateful for her generosity and her longstanding belief in and support of Loyola.”
A strong believer in the value of a Jesuit education, Maedell spent years building the gift that will now establish the Murphy-Braud Scholarship Endowment Funds at Loyola. Named for her late husband’s family, the gift will create $5 million in a new scholarship endowment for undergraduates and $5 million in a new scholarship endowment for law students.The scholarships will be awarded, based on students’ financial need and academic strength, starting in the fall of 2019.
Braud’s $10 million gift also puts Loyola’s “Faith in the Future” fund-raising campaign at $81.1 million of its $100 million goal, the most ambitious and successful fund-raising campaign in university history.
Braud was a strong presence at Loyola for nearly 70 years. She spent her entire career working for Loyola, from 1948 until her retirement in 1980, as administrative assistant to the dean of Arts and Sciences.
In 1971, Loyola honored her for her many years of dedicated service and awarded her an honorary Master of Education in Administration. Her passion for Loyola continued into her retirement years.
For many years following her retirement, she attended nearly every Loyola special event. In recognition of her generous support over the years of Loyola and its giving campaigns, she was inducted into the Lifetime Giving Society of St. Ignatius. Until now, her most cherished gift was her donation of three rooms in Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library in honor of her parents.
“Maedell was extremely dedicated to the Jesuits, especially the deans she worked for,” said Loyola’s president emeritus, Jesuit Father James C. Carter, Ph.D. “She was very professional and extremely helpful. Anytime I had a problem as an advisor, I could call her and get an answer. If I was faced with a complicated case, she had a solution. She never left you with the feeling that you were imposing on her time. She was there to help.”Sugar cane patent
Braud was the beloved wife of Sidney Francis Braud, who preceded her in death. Sidney Braud graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans and received his undergraduate and law degrees at Loyola. His grandfather, John Henry Murphy, held a valuable patent on sugar cane refining machinery. Murphy owned and operated a large boiler factory on Magazine Street and served as president of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad for more than 20 years.
It was the Brauds’ last wishes that the Loyola scholarships established will be named in memory of Sidney’s mother, father and grandfather.
Braud’s philanthropy benefitted many Jesuit institutions beyond Loyola, including the Jesuit Novitiate in Grand Coteau and the Jesuit Province.
St. Pius X parishioner
Braud was a lifelong resident of New Orleans and a devout parishioner of St. Pius X, where she was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Guild. She enjoyed entertaining and dining, and she celebrated her 85th birthday with family, friends and a special birthday performance from the 610 Stompers.
She was a longtime member of the Krewe of Iris, the Lakeshore Women’s Club and the Lakeshore Garden Club. Her generous and fun-loving nature was perhaps best summed up in her familiar greeting: “I am so glad you got to see me!”
“Loyola was everything to Maedell, it really was,” said Mary Ellen Arceneaux, a close friend who worked with her in the dean’s office from 1956 until Braud’s retirement. “When you work that long at an institution, it’s a relationship. She was a very smart woman and a very, very good worker. She knew all of the faculty – they were in and out all the time. She was very involved and had a very personal relationship with all of them. … She was a wonderful person.”
Loyola remembered Braud with a special recognition at the university’s annual 1912 Society Dinner on Dec. 7.