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Loyola receives $1 million for classical studies program in honor of late Fr. Bienvenu

Loyola press release - May 7, 2015

When Loyola University New Orleans launched its $100 million Faith in the Future fundraising campaign last year, it was to ensure the future of the more than 100-year-old institution and its Jesuit mission. Thanks to a recent generous donation, one Loyola department will be able to study and research the ancients.

An anonymous donor has given $1 million to establish the Emmett M. Bienvenu, S.J., Endowed Chair in Classical Studies to honor the memory of Fr. Bienvenu, the late, longtime Jesuit scholar of Latin and Greek language and literature. This new endowment is in addition to the Endowed Professorship in Classical Studies, also in memory of Fr. Bienvenu, that was bestowed previously upon Connie Rodriguez, Ph.D. These, along with an endowed scholarship in Bienvenu's name, as well as a research endowment, will sustain the legacy of a beloved professor who taught for more than 40 years, engaging students in philosophical discussions and teaching the finer points of Latin and Greek.

"Fr. Bienvenu introduced me to Ancient Greek, which has been a big part of my life for nearly 40 years," the donor said. "This donation recognizes my debt to him and to Loyola."

Rodriguez said she is astounded by the generosity of the donor and thrilled for what it will do for the program.

"Classical Studies has been the core of Jesuit education from the time Ignatius Loyola established his first university. Our students say their education has expanded their perception of history, deepened the knowledge of their faith, helped them to better understand the modern world and given them the analytical skills and intellectual rigor to pursue their future goals in whatever field they choose to enter. This endowed chair will ensure the future of that education," Rodriguez said.

Loyola's Classical Studies department allows students to learn about the language, art, literature, philosophy and religion of the ancient Greek and Roman world, but it also preserves the birth of humanity's intellectual and artistic exploration. By studying how the ancients asked and answered questions about the nature of what it means to be human, students are better able to understand how to do so in the present. It is a fundamental part of the Ignatian values of engaged and conscious living. Students learn to think critically, write well and appreciate the classical tradition of a life of learning.