The loss of a loved one inevitably changes the lives of those left behind – and sometimes those changes can lead to new and unforeseen possibilities. This was true for Johanna Lundy, J.D. ’75, when she applied to LMU Loyola Law School (LLS) while mourning the loss of her husband, a fighter pilot who had been reported missing in action during the Vietnam War. His death was not confirmed until decades later and Lundy needed to find something that would consume her grief and allow her to apply her inquiring mind. What’s more, she had six young children to support. Her years at LLS ultimately won her the financial freedom she needed, and became a source of lasting personal fulfilment.
Lundy, who passed away in 2020, was one of the many working single parents who have been empowered by pursuing the J.D. Evening Program at LLS. Her spirit of determination will now be honored by the Johanna Lundy Memorial Scholarship, funded by an endowment of $250,000 generously gifted by the Lundy family. Intended to support students in the J.D. Evening Program, with a preference for single parents like Lundy herself, the scholarship speaks to the university’s defining culture of advocating for those in need, a testament to the commitment to social justice that is central to the LLS mission.
“Loyola Law School has a reputation for welcoming people of all backgrounds and enabling them to be successful in so many ways,” said Albro Lundy III, J.D. ’85, who followed in his mother’s footsteps by attending LLS and later starting his own law firm in Hermosa Beach, CA. “My mother would commute home each night after attending the classes, and she would immediately start working – often until the early hours of the morning,” he said. “I have strong memories of falling asleep to the sound of her pounding the keys of her old mechanical typewriter. One morning, I woke up to hear her screaming with excitement – she had just heard that she had passed the bar exam on her first try. We all came out of our bedrooms to cheer her on.”
Johanna Lundy proceeded to have a highly successful career, initially working at large law firms in Los Angeles, then founding her own practice so that she could spend more time with her family. However, she also experienced significant discrimination as she was finding her footing in an industry dominated by men. “She was warm, she was caring, and she was dignified,” said her daughter-in-law, Cathi Lundy. Despite being a qualified lawyer, Lundy was often offered the role of secretary when she applied for jobs after graduating. However, with the support of then LLS Dean Frederick Lower and her professors, Lundy was able to procure her first position as an attorney.
“My mother was able to achieve renewed dignity by training as a lawyer at Loyola,” said Lundy’s daughter, Terry Lee. “She was very determined, and she never gave up on her goal. As a single mother, it was an astonishingly difficult endeavor. People in hard circumstances are often in need of hope to be able to take the necessary steps to achieve their dreams. Ultimately, the financial support of the scholarship is secondary to the importance of being believed in, receiving the hope that undergirds emotions and inspiration.”
For the Lundy family, the scholarship is a way of honoring the tremendous perseverance demonstrated by their mother when they were growing up – a strength of purpose that was fortified by Lundy’s Catholic faith. “She passed her faith on to her children,” said Albro Lundy. “The importance of focusing on what God calls you to do, which is loving with all your strength. And that’s what she did for us – her success as a lawyer is no less impressive than the fact that she raised six children. This scholarship at Loyola Law School is the perfect legacy for her, and we hope that her story will inspire others to achieve what might once have seemed impossible.”
To learn more about supporting LMU Loyola Law School, contact Jamal Barakat, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 310.568.7148. You can also give directly to the Johanna Lundy Memorial Endowed Scholarship at LMU Loyola Law School here.