John McGruder didn’t want to just watch men’s basketball games or attend Mass for an hour on Communion Sunday; he wanted to do something. The retired 1968 graduate thought of a new way to unite fellow Florida alumni—and it only required a little paint and elbow grease. The Sarasota-Bradenton chapter, of which McGruder is president, teamed up with Brush Up Sarasota, a non-profit outfit that provides volunteer opportunities throughout Sarasota County, to participate in the national Make A Difference Weekend in October.
McGruder took it even further by writing to every Jesuit school in the country to ask for their participation. Out of 28 colleges and universities, 25 pledged to spread the word to their alumni. The aptly named “Team Jesuit Colleges and Universities” worked on projects such as helping build a Habitat for Humanity house, cleaning up a beach, working in a homeless shelter, visiting a nursing home and giving blood.