During the past 100 years, Loyola has provided Jesuit education rooted in the liberal arts and sciences with the aim of freeing the individual person and allowing him or her to critically examine the world. In many ways, Loyola’s mission today is the same as it has always been. As we look forward to our next century, we remain firmly rooted in the Jesuit ideals that have not only brought us to this point in history, but that will guide Loyola into the future.
Loyola has made great strides in the tumultuous years since Hurricane Katrina in terms of enrollment, reinforcing our faculty, and strengthening our bonds with the broader New Orleans community. Our students and faculty are increasingly engaged through research and service with a diverse array of New Orleans populations, providing students real-world learning opportunities directed by Jesuit ideals. We have also worked to further internationalize the education we offer by expanding our study abroad program and forging partnerships across the globe. These achievements indicate the trajectory upon which Loyola will continue into the future.
In support of these efforts, Loyola has embarked on the most ambitious campaign in the university’s history, Faith in the Future: The Campaign for Loyola University New Orleans. This $100 million fundraising effort will enhance student scholarships, rebuild campus facilities, attract outstanding new faculty members and provide support for their research, expand campus life programs, and provide increased resources for Jesuit and mission and ministry initiatives. The campaign’s goals are an outgrowth of the comprehensive strategic plan Loyola 2012, instituted in 2009, that gave the university a unified vision moving into its centennial. The goals of Loyola 2012 involved enhancing Loyola’s Jesuit values and improving the overall collegiate experience for Loyola’s students, as well as heightening the university’s stature.
Efforts to rebuild Loyola physically are already underway, and will continue into the future. In the past three years, we have renovated Thomas Hall, formerly the home of the Jesuit community, into a one-stop center for student affairs. We have also renovated the former Dominican Conference Center into the College of Law Broadway Building, which houses offices and classrooms for the law school, as well as the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice. Plans to renovate Monroe Hall, which houses 40 percent of Loyola’s classrooms, and the residence halls on both campuses are currently being solidified. Loyola also received a generous $8 million gift from New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson to create the Tom Benson Jesuit Center in the former Loyola library.
Tom Benson meant for his gift not only to support Loyola and its Jesuit mission, but to inspire the Loyola community to come forth and join the effort. The future of Loyola depends on our stalwart commitment to our ideals, careful planning and ingenuity, but it also depends on the direct action of a wide constituency of individuals who believe in Loyola’s mission, and who are willing to invest in whatever way possible in securing its success.
Thankfully, Loyola University New Orleans has touched the lives of so many, has contributed such great good to the city and region in which it resides, and has proven itself over the course of a century as such a positive influence that the prospect of its prosperity over another 100 years is bright. As Loyola stands at the cusp of a century and surveys the future, it looks back on a century of great achievement, and forward to another.