Loyola Marymount University announced that Peggy Rajski, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, leading academic and nonprofit founder, will lead LMU School of Film and Television as its next dean. She will begin on June 1.
Rajski was selected after a nationwide search to replace outgoing Dean Stephen Ujlaki, who has served in that role since 2010. Rajski is currently a professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she is the head of the producing program for the school’s graduate film program.
“I’m thrilled to join LMU’s School of Film and Television, where the university’s reputation for creative excellence, academic rigor and a strong commitment to social justice dovetails perfectly with my career and life experience,” Rajski said. “The June launch of the school’s expansion into the new Playa Vista campus creates exceptional opportunities to deepen LMU’s engagement with multi-platform and technology industry partners, expand immersive learning opportunities, and build career pathways in Silicon Beach. I’m excited by the unparalleled possibilities it will give SFTV students to live, learn, and create in the heart of L.A.’s innovation and creativity hub.”
Rajski’s career as a film producer and director is long and distinguished. As a producer or co-producer, she has worked with auteurs including John Sayles (Brother From Another Planet, Matewan, Eight Men Out), Martin Scorsese and Stephen Frears (The Grifters), and Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays).
She has also directed television programs and movies, including her 1994 short film Trevor, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The movie, about a gay teen facing discrimination over his identity, prompted Rajski to create The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides crisis counseling and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
“As a producer, director, and educator, Dean Rajski’s vision, creativity, and collaborative spirit will lead LMU SFTV to new heights of renown,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas Poon. “We have unmatched potential: Our programs are among the top-ranked in the nation, we live and study in the epicenter of creativity and innovation, and we educate and partner with the world’s most extraordinary talent. Peggy is a bold leader who will challenge us to achieve our ambitions.”
At NYU, Rajski elevated the producing curriculum to help students transition successfully into the professional arena. She served on the Dean’s Executive Council and played a pivotal role in the creation of the Tisch Faculty Council, the school’s first autonomous faculty governance committee. She has also taught producing workshops for Sundance, the American Film Institute, and the Motion Picture Association of America.
A longstanding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Producers Branch, Rajski has served on the academy’s Institutional and Scholar Grants Committee, the Best Short Film nominating committee, the invitation-only Best Foreign Film Shortlist Selection Committee, and has been a judge for the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, the premier competition for emerging screenwriting talent for more than a decade.
Rajski earned her M.F.A. in communications, radio, TV, and film from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. in communications from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She received the University of Wisconsin’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014.