March 29, 2017
When administrators at Loyola University Maryland learned America's favorite weatherman, Al Roker, would be visiting the campus, they recruited peppy students, a cappella singers, and even the ukulele club to ensure a clamorous welcome for the Today show crew when they land at the airport Wednesday.
The university's marketing staff have spared no effort in their preparations to host the popular morning show, which is scheduled to film live Thursday morning from the campus in North Baltimore. The Today show brings a rare opportunity for the 165-year-old Jesuit college to showcase itself to a national audience as the fourth stop on Roker's wild, week-long tour of American campuses: "Rokerthon 3: Storming Into The Madness."
Never mind that the highlight of the broadcast will be the gathering of nearly 400 students and professors attempting to break the world record for the largest formation of people "crab walking." Loyola administrators see being featured on network television as an opportunity to increase the visibility of the campus and attract new students at time when the university is struggling to sustain its liberal arts identity
Viewers across the country will see whooping crowds wearing green and gray, watch a segment on the Loyola tradition of midnight breakfast, and take in a Loyola-themed music video.
University leaders make no bones about the need to grow Loyola's appeal.
"We cannot pay for this kind of publicity," said Sharon Higgins, the university vice president for marketing. "It's a big day, and it couldn't have come at a better time. We're hoping a lot of prospective students and parents will be watching."