Loyola University Maryland President Brian F. Linnane, S.J., delivered his annual “State of the University” address on Wednesday, Sept. 29, in the University’s Alumni Memorial Chapel.
The 30-minute speech began with an acknowledgment of the economic challenges the University—and the nation—have endured in recent years, and an expression of gratitude for the campus community’s perseverance under adversity.
“I am very much aware that you have not been immune to the economic turbulence that has shaken the nation and unleashed so much anxiety,” he said to the faculty, staff, and administrators present. “I am deeply aware of the sacrifices you have made, and I’m deeply appreciative of the good will and good humor you have maintained during this time of economic adversity…I challenge anyone to find any evidence, anywhere, that the fiscal adversity of the last two years has diluted our commitment to our core values…what I have seen is not a dilution of commitment, but a deepening of commitment to our Jesuit values and ideals.”
The address highlighted a number of key accomplishments of the past year, including the launch of Loyola’s School of Education; the opening of the Ridley Athletic Complex; the establishment of its first full-time MBA program; the start of the expansion and renovation of the University’s science facilities; a first-year class drawn from the largest applicant pool in University history; record-high enrollment of students of color; and continued commitment to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of undergraduate students.
Fr. Linnane attributed much of this success to the University’s adherence to sound financial decisions. “We never strayed from our commitment to fiduciary responsibility and fiscal prudence,” he said. “Our history of tight budget controls served us well during these rough economic times.” He noted that the Loyola community’s commitment to energy conservation has saved more than $430,000 in the past year, and that the University’s endowment has rebounded from $122 million to $145 million.
The remarks also noted the progress made on many of the initiatives outlined in Loyola’s strategic plan, most notably the enhancement of its science programs, development of living-learning communities, and engagement with the York Road communities just east of Loyola’s Evergreen campus.
The status of the University’s ongoing reaccreditation process also formed a key element of the address. Loyola’s initial self-study, the work of 10 distinct working groups, is complete. The University is taking advantage of this process to pursue a critical examination of its programs to identify areas of strength and those with the potential for improvement. “This self-examination will serve us well,” he said. “Self-assessment is a prerequisite for growth and for vitality, and it is at the heart of discerning where to move in the future.”
In closing, Fr. Linnane expressed his optimism for where Loyola University Maryland is headed in years to come. “The state of the University is strong because you are strong,” he said. “And the State of the University is strong because here at Loyola, we remember that we have promises to keep to our students. We have promises to keep to the wider community. We have promises to keep to our heritage and our Jesuit values. And, maybe most of all, we have promises to keep to each other. I believe it is that conviction that has given us the remarkable strength to flourish in tough times, to sail successfully through rough waters. While this period of economic difficulty will one day pass, we will endure other, perhaps even greater, challenges ahead,” he said. “But no matter what challenges we face, we will survive, and indeed we will thrive.”
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