By Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.
When we gather together tomorrow in Sacred Heart Chapel, I will build upon the themes and vision I shared in my previous two convocations and will explore our collective futures. In “Today and Two Tomorrows,” I will challenge our community to reflect on our roles as teacher-scholars, as mentors, as students, and as global citizens to ensure that we create the world in which we want to live.
Today, I honor the faith, hope, and love that our LMU community generates. I celebrate our achievements and thank each of you for contributing to our thriving university.
I start with Vice President for Intercultural Affairs Abbie Robinson-Armstrong. LMU would not be as strong as we are without the visionary leadership of Abbie, who will retire in May. While we conduct a nationwide search for Abbie’s successor, I have appointed Jennifer Abe, professor of psychology, as interim special assistant for intercultural affairs. Please join me on Nov. 15 to celebrate Abbie’s stellar, landmark career.
We welcomed several new leaders this semester. Athletic Director Craig Pintens will reinvigorate our Lion pride by rousing our student-athletes to compete with intensity and integrity. Academy Award-winning School of Film and Television Dean Peggy Rajski’s creativity, coupled with her commitment to social justice, will challenge us to interleave ardor and compassion for optimal results. Dean Dayle Smith’s social entrepreneurship prowess will build upon our College of Business Administration’s excellence and chart an ambitious path forward. The new leadership in our Provost’s Office, which includes a distinguished trio—Roberta Espinoza as vice provost for global-local initiatives; José I. Badenes, S.J., as associate provost for undergraduate education; and Kathleen Weaver as associate provost for research and professional development—will advance our strategic academic initiatives and guarantee that our students receive a highest-quality education. Our new dean of students, Terri Mangione, and interim dean of the School of Education, Mary McCullough, bring a commitment to leadership in two areas of strength at LMU: care for our students’ well-being; and preparing the nation’s best educators. At Loyola Law School, we welcome Marianne Carlton, associate dean for finance and administration, who will oversee the school’s business operations.
This fall, we welcomed a new class of roughly 1,500 first-year students from a record-breaking pool of 18,000 applicants. The Class of 2022 is the most diverse and accomplished in LMU history.
- Students come from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and 51 nations.
- Their high school GPAs averaged 3.81 and their SAT scores averaged 1323, with their 75th percentile reaching 1400 for the first time in our history.
We enrolled the most diverse and academically competitive transfer class in our history, welcoming 400 new transfer students from a record 3,000 applications.
- 60% of the transfer class is from community colleges (31 from our Guaranteed Transfer Admission Agreement).
- Every ethnic population increased, including Latina/o students, who comprise 25% of our transfer class.
- The average GPA for enrolled transfer students rose from 3.50 to 3.70.
Graduate enrollments overall met the university goals with stronger than budgeted results in Seaver College (+154) and the School of Education (+232).
- Our graduate student population is 33% Latina/o—the highest in the most recent ten-year period. Our graduate population is also 8% African American and 10% international.
ACADEMIC AND CO-CURRICULAR HIGHLIGHTS
LMU continues to excel in pursuing our most central purpose: achieving transformational, academic excellence. In particular:
- The prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society granted a charter to LMU. This honor speaks to our rigorous programs and the high standards we expect of our faculty and students. We look forward to inducting our inaugural members in April 2019.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education continues to cite LMU as one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars. Six LMU graduates earned Fulbrights for the 2018-19 academic year.
- This year’s Bellarmine Forum, “Collaboration and Creativity: Faith, Culture, and the Arts,” celebrates human connection and creative collaboration through courses and events in partnership between the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts. As part of the forum, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the affiliation of Marymount College with Loyola University.
- The College of Communications and Fine Arts’ Theatre Arts Department presented Shakespeare on the Bluff with performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Othello” in Lawton Plaza and in Playa Vista, enchanting hundreds of our neighbors
- The U.S. Department of Education awarded the College of Business Administration a distinguished Center for International Business Education grant, providing more than $1 million over the next four years. We are the first master’s-categorized institution to garner this honor.
- Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent secured the release of Maria Mendez, a grandmother wrongfully convicted of causing the death of her grandson. Mendez served 11 years of a 25-years-to-life sentence. Her release was the culmination of three years of research and investigation.
- The School of Education received a $650,000 grant from the Sobrato Family Foundation for our Center for Equity for English Learners, to ease the shortage of bilingual teachers and help shape state policies.
- The School of Film and Television partnered with the LA Film Festival to host “Immersive Storytelling,” a curated exhibit focusing on virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence, on our new LMU Playa Vista campus.
- The Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering welcomed SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell to campus as the keynote speaker for their Seaver Spotlight series.
Last year, we completed the most comprehensive institutional survey in LMU’s history engaging over 75,000 internal and external constituents and contacts to reveal their perceptions. Through engagements with our community, we refined our strategies and finalized our brand platform’s messaging. This semester, all are invited to review the proposed new visual identity, which will unify us further and serve as our creative foundation. Your feedback and engagement on the visual identity and brand initiatives are critical to the refinement process and vital to its overall success. We are preparing to activate our brand next fall, and I am confident that these efforts will help us realize our bold ambitions.
We continue to expand our visibility efforts, which aim to elevate our reputation locally, regionally, and nationally. We set another record last year with a 110% increase over the prior year’s 240% increase, bringing us a net gain of 580 million impressions (excluding social and news media), along with positive impacts on enrollment and reputational metrics. We continue promoting our academic rigor, diversity, athletics, and engagement with Playa Vista/Silicon Beach.
PLAYA VISTA CAMPUS
We amplified LMU’s global impact with our Playa Vista Campus, where interdisciplinary creative endeavors and bold public offerings, like our partnership with the LA Film Festival, showcase our leadership in immersive storytelling. Anchored by our renowned School of Film and Television graduate programs, this innovative space also houses our Executive MBA program and will enkindle new interdisciplinary collaborations.
LMU continues to engage with the Los Angeles Community.
- Guests from across the globe joined us for the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference, where we teamed with the West Coast Conference and LA84 Foundation to champion the vision set forth by the Vatican’s Sport at the Service of Humanity global initiative.
- For the fourth year, our Annual Salsa Festival brought dancing, joy, and community to 2,000 twirling Angelenos.
- On Sept. 18, the Los Angeles City Council recognized our diverse contributions to the city as “LMU in L.A. Day.” We are delighted to advance our partnership with the City of Angels, and we will continue to collaborate with our civic and business leaders to enhance our region.
- Award-winning columnist Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times inaugurated our journalism major by encouraging our students to find gripping L.A. stories that help us better understand our world. Nearly 200 people enjoyed his reflections and his conversation with LMU First Lady Carol Costello.
LMU continues its leadership in sustainable practices:
- LMU has sold approximately $90 million worth of “green bonds” via the California Educational Facilities Authority to construct new, sustainable student housing on our Westchester campus.
- The Sierra Club included LMU in its 2018 list of the 20 greenest universities in North America.
- Earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles awarded LMU with the first-ever Platinum recycLA Star for our sustainability prowess.
REALIZING OUR VISION
In April, LMU’s Board of Trustees approved our moving into the “quiet phase” of a new comprehensive campaign. We will now begin to explore our most critical needs for student scholarships, faculty chairs and professorships, academic program endowments and capital construction projects with LMU friends, alumni and potential donors to help define the precise scope and focus of the new campaign. I am excited about the momentum we are building as we head into the campaign, and I anticipate announcing in the near future a new Senior Vice President of University Advancement who will direct our campaign vision and priorities.
CREATING A CULTURE OF LISTENING WHERE ALL ARE WELCOME
As part of LMU’s Join the Discourse 2018-19 Event Series, ASLMU, BCLA, Ethnic and Intercultural Services, Mission and Ministry, and Student Affairs are hosting a series of activities this fall. Ijeoma Oluo, New York Times best-selling author of “So You Want to Talk about Race,” kicked off the series with an illuminating discussion about racism in America. On Oct. 30, our campus community is invited to take part in our event, “National Dialogue on Race,” to talk more about race and the Jesuit ideals that we can use to bridge societal divides. These conversations are essential to our growth as individuals and as a community of lifelong learners.
Meanwhile, our Implicit Bias Initiative has moved into a second phase, during which we are learning not just how to recognize our biases, but how to mitigate them. More than 2,000 students and more than 300 faculty and staff members have participated in the program, thus far.
Today is the deadline to register to vote in the state of California. We at LMU are doing our part to ensure that our community’s rights are upheld and voices are heard:
- Loyola Law School’s partnership with the L.A. County Registrar—the first of its kind—allows our law students to serve as official poll workers, running polling places on election day to ensure that each eligible voter is able to participate.
- Student Affairs has joined forces with Democracy Works, a nonpartisan organization, to make voting a seamless experience for all LMU students. The TurboVote application provides students, faculty, and staff with information they need to vote in every election. More than 650 students have signed up for TurboVote to register to vote or for reminders and ballot updates.
This moment in higher education challenges our LMU community to innovate in the classroom, to infuse purpose in each of our creations, and to work in concert to make the world a better place. I look forward to our time tomorrow to reflect on how we might realize our futures together.