In 1976, David Hamilton was a freshman commuter student at LMU looking to get involved on campus. Hamilton walked into the Malone Student Center to find the Los Angeles Loyolan offices — a decision that would shape the entirety of his college career.
It was there where he first met Bernie Sandalow.
“Bernie was...a leader on the Loyolan staff at the time, and just like he did with all the other writers, he took me under his wing,” said Hamilton of the 1977-78 editor-in-chief and LMU basketball Hall of Famer Bernie Sandalow.
Sandalow passed away over the night of April 1. From the time he was a student on campus in the 1970s through the 41 seasons that he served as public address announcer at LMU basketball games, Sandalow personified what it means to be a Lion.
Hamilton and Sandalow worked side by side along with a dedicated staff to produce a newspaper once a week. But according to Hamilton, working at the Loyolan was far more than a job — it was like working with a family. Hamilton attributed much of that atmosphere to Sandalow’s dedication to and contagious love for the paper and its staff.
“Everything he did, he lived and committed to,” said Hamilton, who graduated in 1979. “And the best part was he was just so excited about it, that he wanted to share his experience and joy that he got from those things...it was infectious.”
That love of all things LMU never faded for Sandalow, even after his commencement in 1978. Tom Nelson, current director of student media and the Loyolan adviser since 2003, recounted how Sandalow continued to support the newspaper he once led.
“I remember, especially in my early years on campus, he would check in with me to provide a little de facto report card on how the Loyolan was doing,” said Nelson. “He was never shy about sharing specific areas for improvement. Once I got to know him better, it became abundantly clear that his feedback sessions were coming from a place of love and encouragement. He really was one of a kind, and Bernie surely will be missed by many.”
Sandalow's presence will especially be missed by the LMU athletics community, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 for his 40-year career as LMU’s men’s basketball public address announcer. He was dubbed “The Voice of the Lions,” and retired from the position in 2017. According to the LMU Athletics website, he also worked 22 seasons of LMU baseball and served as the dean of college basketball announcers in the West Coast Conference.
In an article published in 2009 about his induction into the Hall of Fame, Sandalow spoke of the love he had for both the University and the game. "I got contacted in January 1977 to do my first game and I have done it ever since. This is something I have enjoyed doing very much, as a way to give back to the University I love so much. The recognition of getting into the Hall of Fame is very, very special and meaningful to me."
It is fair to say that Sandalow has touched many lives at LMU in athletics, at the Loyolan and in the community as a whole. As a leader, he taught with passion and joy. Hamilton said that over 40 years later, he still incorporates what he learned from Sandalow into his career as a social worker.
When he joined the Loyolan staff, Hamilton had not yet developed a skill for journalistic writing. As he puts it, Sandalow guided him to better his writing and editing to the point that when Sandalow graduated, Hamilton took over as editor in chief.
“If you don’t learn early in journalism as, in many things in life, how to accept and grow from criticism, you are going to have a very short career,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton fondly recounted driving through California in his ’74 Maverick with Sandalow and other members of the Loyolan staff on their way to a California Intercollegiate Press Association conference. He emphasized the camaraderie between them, and the effect that Sandalow had on everyone he met.
“He really was bigger than life,” said Hamilton.