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The Gifts We Bring

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

Christmas and the holiday season are times of hope. A season that, while profound in its darkness, resonates in its light. In that richness and contrast, we can discern the spirit of what connects us and what matters most.

Throughout this season the blessings of compassion, friendship, and family take on special meaning. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we acknowledge and honor the many traditions and cultures that make up Loyola, for these are the gifts we bring to each other.

The Jesuit tradition is about aspiring, actively, to be a better person, and being a better person for the world. This aspiration—to find a home and act in community—is consonant across cultures and faiths reflected in our diverse student body, our faculty, and our staff. Many traditions find a home here, all with the aspiration to bring their gifts to the world, to bring light, healing, and hope.

I experienced Loyola’s open spirit in the way you welcomed me into the community over 18 months ago. I see it every day on our campuses, in momentous achievements and expertise, and in simple acts of listening and teaching, compassion, and hospitality. Your kindness has been particularly evident over the past month, when dozens of University departments and the Jesuit Community contributed much-needed items for more than 60 families in Chicagoland through the Loyola Gives program. We are grateful to all who gave, with special thanks to the dedicated volunteers who make it all happen.

At Christmas we look back, and we look forward, giving thanks for the year past and asking for light on plans and promises in the year to come. We recommit ourselves to the work of building a more just and peaceful world by using our gifts in service to humanity and all of God’s creation.

On behalf of our community, I extend best wishes and special prayers for a warm and wondrous holiday season. Thank you for the gifts you bring to us and to one another, and thank you for being a part of our Loyola family.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney
President

Invitation to the University Christmas Reception

December 6, 2017

Loyola Community,

It is our pleasure to invite you to the annual University Christmas Reception. We’ll celebrate on Wednesday, December 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Damen Student Center on our Lake Shore Campus.

At the reception, mingle with fellow Loyolans under the University’s beautiful Christmas tree, enjoy food and drink, listen to strolling carolers, take holiday-themed pictures with friends in a photo booth, watch magicians mesmerize, win big through the annual raffle giveaway, and visit with Santa Claus!

Christmas Reception Details
Spirit Contest
The University Staff Council will host its annual holiday spirit contest. Find more details, including how to register, here.

Getting to Campus
For those driving to the reception, courtesy parking will be available in the Main Parking Structure on campus. For those not driving, complimentary round-trip shuttle service will be provided for colleagues at the Water Tower and Health Sciences campuses.

Shuttle Service
Anyone planning to utilize the shuttle service should RSVP no later than noon on Friday, December 15, here. Your responses will ensure that we can accommodate everyone.

  • Water Tower Campus—Shuttle service will depart from the Corboy Law Center at 1:30 p.m. Shuttles will leave the Lake Shore Campus to return to the Water Tower Campus at 4:15 p.m.
  • Health Sciences Campus—Shuttle service will depart from Fifth Avenue, just west of the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, at 1 p.m. Shuttles will leave the Lake Shore Campus to return to the Health Sciences Campus at 4:15 p.m.

We invite everyone to come out and join us at the reception and celebrate the holiday season together. Please call Human Resources at 773.508.3140 with any questions.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President
Winifred L. Williams, PhD
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

WTC Staff Reception Rescheduled for February 13

December 4, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

In consideration of busy year-end and holiday schedules, we are rescheduling the Water Tower Campus Staff Reception, originally planned for next Tuesday, December 12. We hope you will join us for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Schreiber Center on Tuesday, February 13, from 4-6 p.m. No RSVP is necessary. We will send a reminder of this invitation in the new year as well.

We look forward to hosting you at this reception in February and encourage you to invite a colleague.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President
Winifred L. Williams, PhD
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Legislative Update: Advocating for Our Students

December 3, 2017

Dear Loyola Community,

Over the past few weeks, the University has been energetically engaged in direct advocacy with congressional leadership and members of the Illinois delegation with the goal of mitigating and modifying provisions of tax reform legislation that pose a major threat to students and universities.

At my direction, Philip Hale, vice president for government affairs, as well as senior administration and members of the Board of Trustees, have engaged vigorously with congressional leaders and members of the Illinois delegation to protect the well-being of our students, the interests of Loyola, and the vitality of higher education, one of America’s strongest assets in the global economy. These efforts are informed and undergirded by detailed analyses from Financial Services on the costs and implications of key provisions in the legislation. We continue to monitor that impact as the provisions evolve.

We have joined in lobbying efforts with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), the American Council of Education (ACE), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities (FIICU), and others to oppose elements of the legislation that have a direct and potentially disastrous effect on students and their families.

We are most concerned about provisions in the House version of the tax bill that will have onerous effects on our students, staff, alumni, and their families: the elimination of the deduction for interest on student loans and the provision to tax graduate tuition waivers as income, which affects our graduate students as well as tuition waivers for employees and their family members.

The former places another barrier for students of modest means in achieving a college degree. The latter places heavy financial burdens on many graduate students and their families, discourages continuing education in important disciplines, and impedes vital classwork and research in which doctoral students play an integral role.

We are encouraged that the Senate bill, passed by a narrow vote this weekend, retains the student benefits the House tax bill eliminates. However, we will continue to advocate against provisions in this bill that negatively impact students and undermine institutions by reducing charitable giving, creating an unprecedented tax on private colleges and universities, increasing costs and regulatory burdens on many colleges and universities, reducing the ability to access tax-exempt bonds for capital projects, and threatening state investment in higher education.

There are indications that if an agreement is reached, the final result will most resemble the Senate version, and we are intensifying our efforts at this critical time. As the process moves toward conference or reconciliation of the two bills, Philip Hale will be in Washington, DC this week to meet with legislators, including members of the House Ways and Means Committee, to continue our advocacy.

I am deeply grateful to Phil and all those who continue to advocate directly at the federal level on behalf of the Dream Act and in shaping a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that keeps higher education affordable and accessible for all students who seek it.

The current tax code helps reduce the cost of higher education for good reason—not just because a higher education benefits individuals, but because it benefits society at large by increasing social and economic mobility and driving innovation and discovery that help to power our competitiveness in a global economy.

We will continue to advocate against any legislation that makes higher education more expensive for students and erodes the financial stability of public and private, two- and four-year colleges and universities. We believe it is possible to offer tax relief in a way that does not increase costs or make a quality higher education less accessible. We will work energetically to that end.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

November 21, 2017

Dear Loyola Community,

Thanksgiving in America offers us a precious opportunity to pause, gather with friends and family, and reflect with gratitude on all that we have received. It is a special time in which attention is paid to God’s bounty and blessings, to sustenance and shelter, to our loving bonds and deep relationships, and to remembering those less fortunate.

It is a chance to step back and reflect, appreciatively, on the work we do. I hope that every day at Loyola is one where we can be grateful for our vibrant community: talented students of many backgrounds, dedicated faculty and staff, Jesuits who enrich our intellectual and spiritual lives, and the supporters, donors, and friends whose shared commitment to our mission enlivens our work.

We are grateful to be here, and to be here at this time in history. We give thanks for this vibrant learning environment that includes our global city, for our places of work and study, for the challenges that require our passion and attention. We are grateful for our colleagues and the ways they manifest the values and character of this institution: curiosity and collaboration, civil discourse among disparate views, and a steadfast dedication to insight, healing, and social justice along with faith. We are grateful for the space to reflect upon the greater good and to have opportunities to serve it, our neighbors, and each other.

Gratitude is the basis of Ignatian spirituality. The first step of the Daily Examen is giving thanks: What am I especially grateful for today? Then the Examen asks us to look outward. As we remember that for which we are grateful, we remember others, as in this Jesuit prayer:

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

These values of empathy and compassionate action—of being “women and men for others”—resonate across the many faith and secular traditions in our diverse community. In the past year over 3,000 students from across all disciplines at Loyola participated in more than 102,000 hours of community-based service learning in neighborhoods across Chicagoland. This month, as part of Ignatian Heritage Month, our campuses collected thousands of food items that will be distributed to food pantries and families across the region.

At Loyola, gratitude is about giving thanks and giving back. As we move into the holiday season, we are excited to partner, once again, with Catholic Charities for our Loyola Gives program. Each year this program offers critical support to help hundreds of families in Chicago obtain winter clothing and other vital necessities. Information on the program, and how you can contribute, is available on the Loyola Gives webpage.

I am deeply grateful for all that you do day in and day out for Loyola University Chicago and for others, and I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney
President

John P. Pelissero, PhD, Transitioning Out of Provost and Chief Academic Officer

November 14, 2017

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

When I began my presidency, our provost and chief academic officer, John P. Pelissero, PhD, graciously agreed to continue in his role in order to maintain the momentum of the University’s strategic academic and enrollment initiatives, as well as “Plan 2020: Building a More Just, Humane, and Sustainable World.” We have agreed that it is now an appropriate time to commence a transition, begin a University-wide consultation process, discern what experiences we desire in our next chief academic leader, and embark on a national search for the next provost.

Personally, I am very grateful for John’s leadership, his generous and wise counsel, and his passion for Loyola’s academic and learning enterprise. His unwavering commitment to the students, faculty, and staff at Loyola has been demonstrated throughout his tenure over the last 33 years as a faculty member, department chair, provost, and interim president. In order to prepare for his return to the faculty as professor of political science in the 2018–2019 academic year, John will start a well-earned and long-delayed leave of absence on January 1, 2018, and will formally conclude eight years of service as provost on June 30, 2018.

Beginning January 1, 2018, and continuing throughout this transition period, Margaret Faut Callahan, CRNA, PhD, FNAP, FAAN, will serve as acting provost and chief academic officer for the entire campus community. Margaret has also agreed to serve as interim provost and chief academic officer, effective July 1, 2018, until we have concluded our national search and named a new provost, at which time she will resume her current role in the Health Sciences Division. Margaret is presently serving as provost for the Health Sciences Division, having joined Loyola on September 1, 2015. I appreciate her willingness to step into this expanded academic role and continue with her leadership of our Health Sciences Campus as well.

Please join me in thanking John for his tireless work and leadership, particularly during these last 15 years, which have helped shape Loyola University Chicago and prepared us well for an exciting future.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Exploring Our Ignatian Legacy

November 1, 2017

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

Our Ignatian heritage is all around us. We note it in our classrooms and labs, in hospitals and clinics where our faculty and alumni practice, in our studios and performance halls, in our neighborhoods. We see it in the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The heritage of St. Ignatius of Loyola fuels our passion for social justice and our commitment to excellence and sustainability to people and communities in need.

Ignatian principles form our commitment to cura personalis, the “care of the whole person,” and to magis, the “more” universal good.

It is amazing that all of this began more than 450 years ago, when a wounded war veteran suffering spiritual upheaval set out on his own healing journey. He exerted a conscious effort to cultivate his faith and overcome his obsession with what others thought of him. He nurtured a growing compassion by engaging with his neighbors and with the problems of their shared world.

He became a student and found relief in study and conversation with teachers and peers. He encountered like-minded friends and shared with a widening circle an approach to theology and education in which reason and faith were complementary. He founded a religious order, the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—based around a daily practice of engaging the mind and heart in experience, reflection, and action.

This veteran, of course, would become St. Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises he developed—a continual inquiry of the self, the world, and of the self in the world—are sometimes called the Ignatian way of proceeding. It is a way of faith as well as a method of pedagogy, and it forms the essence of a Jesuit education.

I invite you to join me in celebrating Ignatian Heritage Month in November to explore our rich Jesuit, Catholic heritage, to remember those who have struggled for justice before us, and to renew our efforts toward a more equitable and sustainable world. It is an annual opportunity for us as a community to engage in the Ignatian way: to reflect, to take action, and to discern our purpose and path going forward.

In addition to dialogues, lectures, events, and actions, Ignatian Heritage Month includes Hunger Week, a tradition at Loyola for more than 40 years. I encourage all Loyolans to participate in one of the upcoming service activities and mission events taking place on our three campuses.

A signature event of the month is the 2017 Martyrs Award Presentation and Memorial Mass. This award honors the memory of the Universidad Centroamericana martyrs and is presented to a faith-based organization in support of our shared commitment to the struggle for social justice. I am pleased to announce that this year’s award goes to the Quinn Community Center, a social outreach program of St. Eulalia Parish that serves our neighbors in Maywood with programs addressing hunger and nutrition, youth and family issues, community health, immigration, and computer education.

The vision and perseverance of Ignatius, a wounded soldier who became a saint, has blossomed into worldwide work that continues to transform lives and shape societies for the better. Ignatian Heritage Month is an embrace of our present and an exploration of our future as much as a celebration of our past. We honor those who embody the Jesuit mission of today, and we reflect, together, on the best ways to embody that mission in the face of our urban challenges before us.

I am immensely grateful for the work you do every day on behalf of our students, our partners, and our community. Please join our Loyola family and me during November as we engage with one another to celebrate, investigate, discuss, and deepen the powerful educational legacy represented by the name above our door.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney
President

Diversity and Inclusion Campus Climate Survey

October 30, 2017

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

We are excited to announce Loyola University Chicago’s first University-wide “Diversity and Inclusion Campus Climate Survey.”

Historically, Loyola’s colleges, schools, institutes, and administrative departments have worked to provide a variety of diversity-related initiatives to support access, representation, respect, inclusion, and acceptance. These efforts strengthen our overall cultural competency and acknowledge the importance of fostering and cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable classroom and workplace experience for our University community.

Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of Loyola’s mission and work. The survey will provide better understanding about the current climate and identify opportunities for improvement. Loyola has partnered with Willis Towers Watson, a leading survey research company, to administer our campus climate survey. The survey audience includes all faculty, staff, and students. The goal is to get feedback regarding personal diversity-related experiences throughout our Loyola community.

The Diversity and Inclusion Campus Climate Survey will open on October 31 and close on November 17. In preparation for the survey, focus group sessions were conducted with faculty, staff, student, and University leadership groups to create a campus dialogue and to gather insight about campus diversity and inclusion experiences. Benchmark survey questions are included to compare our responses to other schools within other colleges and universities.

Survey results will be shared with the University community in January 2018. Results will provide action-focused outcomes as a part of Loyola’s continued efforts to naturally incorporate diversity, inclusion, and equity practices into the University’s Jesuit culture of acceptance, difference, and humble inquiry. Action planning teams will analyze the survey results to see what’s working well at Loyola in the area of diversity and inclusion and where we need to improve. These teams will lead the development of action plans.

Tomorrow you will receive an e-mail with a link to the survey. Our goal is 100 percent participation. This is an opportunity for your voice to be heard, and your participation is strongly encouraged.

Several incentives are included to inspire participation and some friendly competition:

  • The first department made up of less than 50 faculty and staff members to complete the survey during the first week will win a pizza party.
  • The first department made up of 51–125 faculty and staff members to complete the survey first by week two will receive a pizza party.
  • Twenty-five randomly selected student survey respondents will be chosen to receive a special gift card on the initial survey launch date.
  • Once the survey window has closed, 100 randomly selected student survey respondents will be chosen to win a special prize.
  • Should you have questions about the campus climate survey project, please feel free to email climatesurvey@luc.edu.

We encourage you to participate in the survey so that together we can foster a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable campus community.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Winifred L. Williams, PhD
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Invitation to Faculty Receptions Hosted by the President and Provosts

September 27, 2017

We are writing to invite you to join us at a reception for faculty this fall. These events will offer us an opportunity to socialize and enjoy camaraderie with colleagues. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and no RSVP is necessary. Please see below for reception details.

Health Sciences Campus
Monday, October 23
4–6 p.m.
Stritch School of Medicine Atrium

Lake Shore Campus
Tuesday, October 24
4–6 p.m.
Piper Hall

Water Tower Campus
Thursday, October 26
4–6 p.m.
Baumhart Hall, Pere Marquette Suite, 25th Floor

We hope that you will join us for one of these events and encourage you to invite a colleague to join you.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

John P. Pelissero, PhD
Provost and
Chief Academic Officer

Margaret Faut Callahan,
CRNA, PhD, FNAP, FAAN
Provost, Health Sciences
Division

Invitation to Staff Receptions Hosted by the President and VP of Human Resources

September 26, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to invite you to join us at a reception for staff this fall. These events will offer us an opportunity to socialize and enjoy camaraderie with colleagues. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and no RSVP is necessary. Please see below for reception details.

Lake Shore Campus
Tuesday, October 3
4–6 p.m.
Mundelein Center, Palm Court

Health Sciences Campus
Wednesday, November 15
4–6 p.m.
Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Quiet Study Lounge

Water Tower Campus
Tuesday, December 12
4–6 p.m.
Lewis Towers, Beane Hall

We hope that you will join us for one of these events and encourage you to invite a colleague to join you.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Winifred L. Williams, PhD
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Paul Roberts Appointed Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success

September 7, 2017

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Roberts as vice president for enrollment management and student success, effective immediately.

In his new role, Paul will lead and integrate Loyola’s enrollment and student success efforts. This integration ensures the critical alignment of all student recruitment and retention efforts—including the enhancement of our recruitment and retention of students of color—while supporting all students on a path to successful degree completion. Paul will also oversee student academic services and report directly to Provost and Chief Academic Officer John Pelissero, PhD. He will continue to serve on the Council of Deans and the Council for Student Success. He will also join the President’s Cabinet and the Board of Trustees Student Development and Success Committee as a University representative.

Paul joined the University in 2002 and served initially as Loyola’s associate vice president of graduate and professional enrollment management, and in 2007, he was appointed associate provost for enrollment management. As associate provost, Paul has had responsibility for the past 10 years for freshman, transfer, and graduate recruitment and admission; financial aid; enrollment marketing; and enrollment research. During his tenure, undergraduate applications to the University increased by 32 percent. In addition, total University enrollment increased by 10 percent, undergraduate enrollment increased by 14 percent, and the size of the freshman class has increased by 30 percent. While increasing the freshman classes to the largest in our history, Paul and his enrollment management team have also simultaneously increased the overall academic profile and diversity of the classes.

Paul came to Loyola from DePaul University, where he served as executive director of university admission. Prior to that, he served as the director of MBA programs at The University of Illinois at Chicago. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College and an MBA from DePaul University.

Please join us in congratulating Paul on this appointment.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

John P. Pelissero, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Statement on the Rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

September 5, 2017

We are extremely disheartened by the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Loyola University Chicago firmly believes in the dignity of each person and in the promotion of social justice. It defies understanding that we as a country would squander the wealth of talent, commitment, and grit exhibited by this extraordinary group of people who we know as our colleagues, our classmates, and our neighbors. These young individuals are woven into the fabric of our communities and have a basic right to contribute to our society. They are our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, business owners, and leaders who join us in lifting up the most marginalized in our world. Loyola University Chicago is committed to their success.

Backed by the passionate commitment and hard work of the Dreamers Committee, we will continue to support and advocate for our students and work with our local, state, and federal partners to find a legislative solution. In the past year, Philip Hale, vice president for government affairs, and I convened meetings with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, to advocate on behalf of our students. We have also signed on to public statements with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and UniversitiesAmerican Council on Education, Pomona College, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and Illinois Business Immigration Coalition that reflect our shared and ongoing commitment. It continues to be clear that by working together with our higher education partners and coalitions, we can strategically leverage our resources and maximize our efforts on behalf of our students.

Currently, we are in close dialogue with organizations that are developing various legal initiatives and examining how the University and/or our DACA students might participate. We encourage everyone to advocate for new legislation that will uphold the current protections of DACA. Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and urge them to act in the next six months to preserve the program’s protections.

Providing support to our students remains the focus of our efforts. Please visit the Undocumented Student Resources page to learn more. This site contains information about students’ legal rights as well as campus contacts and training opportunities.

Our University is an intellectual community shaped by hope, faith, and service—hope for a more just future, faith that it can be achieved, and service for others in need. While the challenges facing us may be daunting and the future we aspire to may at times appear distant and difficult to reach, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect and provide access to education for all members of our Loyola community.

Loyola is a community devoted to tackling the most complicated issues and doing what we can to elevate the most marginalized in our society. As we confront social injustices today and in the future, I ask that we do so in a way that advances our dialogue and understanding, and with a core tenet of our Jesuit, Catholic faith in mind: dignity and respect for all.

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President, Loyola University Chicago

University Closure in December

August 30, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing you today with an important update to the University’s 2017 holiday calendar. After discussion with many campus leaders and feedback from members of the President’s Cabinet, we are pleased to announce that the University will close the entire week of Christmas—December 25–29—and reopen on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. You will receive full pay for the week and are not required to use any accrued vacation or personal days.

This gift of extra holiday time acknowledges our commitment to work-life balance. We respect our community’s need for time away from campus and hope you will take this week to spend time with family and friends while also reflecting on 2017 and rejuvenating for the upcoming calendar year.

Please note that the planned Christmas Eve holiday will change. Originally scheduled for Friday, December 22, it will now be observed on Tuesday, December 26. This means that the University will be open the full week of December 18.

Christmas Day on Monday, December 25, and New Year’s Day on Monday, January 1, 2018, will remain observed holidays. In addition, University staff and faculty will be gifted another three days: Wednesday, December 27, through Friday, December 29.

We were heartened by the number of faculty and staff members who expressed their appreciation for last year’s gift of time, and this encouraged us to repeat the gesture this year. As a community committed to cura personalis, this decision, on a personal level, is an easy one.

Similar to last year, we know that some staff members will be needed on campus to provide support during this week-long closure. To those employees, thank you for your commitment. Please know that your department managers will work directly with you to ensure that you are able to take advantage of this gifted time 45 days before or after the closure. We are also asking all department heads to prepare plans for their area to ensure that critical business functions continue during this week and are handled remotely, if possible.

Also, please save the date for the annual University Christmas Reception. Join us in the Damen Student Center at the Lake Shore Campus on Wednesday, December 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. We will share more details closer to the date.

Again, we are happy to share all this news with you. We hope that it demonstrates our thanks to you for all the work that you do and our commitment to the well-being of all our faculty and staff.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Winifred Williams, PhD
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

2017-2018 Academic Year Welcome

August 22, 2017

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

The start of a new academic year fills me with excitement as I look forward to all that we will accomplish and discover. Whether we are engaging in service projects locally or globally, pursuing breakthrough research in health care and science, joining with our community partners to improve local K-12 education, or working with new entrepreneurs to start neighborhood businesses and so much more, we are finding new and innovative ways to set the world on fire.

By their very nature, universities must be the ideal location, and offer the perfect setting, to safely explore your interests and transform your life. And yet, the repulsive events involving white supremacists on a college campus in Charlottesville this month remind us that our country remains deeply flawed. This is a significant moment for our nation, and bolstered by our Jesuit and Catholic mission, we must stand unified against such bigotry and hatred.

A Jesuit, Catholic education prepares individuals for more than just a job or a career—it transforms you and allows you to go out into the world and serve as a change agent in service to one another, particularly those marginalized and underserved. The hate on display in Charlottesville—and globally in Spain and Finland—has absolutely no place in a civilized society. I call on each of us, our Loyola community, to be sure that it has no place on our campuses. The first step in ensuring that we remain an open, welcoming, inclusive community is a relatively simple one: We must engage with each other respectfully and thoughtfully. Start by taking the time to get to know your classmates and colleagues—turn and talk to that person you see in the elevator every day, find common ground with a student organization that represents a perspective different from your own, or seek out individuals you disagree with and commit to a better understanding of each other’s views. This enables us to fully embrace and live out the principles and values imparted to us by St. Ignatius and makes them come alive in our contemporary world.

Loyola University Chicago is a community made stronger by our diversity. We welcome everyone—of all faiths, backgrounds, and identities—and we will not tolerate discrimination. We are dedicated to moving the world forward, and to do so we must be able to encounter philosophies that we disagree with and have conversations that sometimes make us very uncomfortable. Only when we take the time and spend the intellectual energy to learn all sides of an issue will we be able to successfully engage and advocate for our position. It is a university’s responsibility to challenge you, present you with a spectrum of ideas, and teach you how to responsibly sort through opinions and information. Spirited debate is critical to the success of our students and to our University. When we reflect on our own perspectives, learn to respectfully hear one another, and participate in discourse in a way that illuminates and advances dialogue and understanding, we grow as individuals and as a community. Yes, we intend to change the world.

When you joined Loyola you committed yourself to be a person for others, someone devoted to tackling the most complicated issues and doing what you can to elevate the most marginalized in our society. I ask each of you—whether student, faculty, or staff member—what will you do this academic year to make a difference? How will you go to the marginalized, as we are called to do, and effect change within our community, our city, and our world? What frontier will you explore and understand better than we do now?

We must live out the ideals of our mission and continue doing so every day. Providing access to institutions like Loyola, for example, is critical and is the cornerstone of our Arrupe College, which celebrated its first graduating class earlier this month. Issues of health equity demand our attention, and many innovative initiatives are underway. Awareness and care for our environment in responsible, sustainable ways will impact not only us but also future generations to come, and our Institute of Environmental Sustainability is leading the way. There are examples like this all across our University, and we must continue this important work if we are to resolve the divisive societal issues in front of us.

Universities across the country, including ours, will open their semesters with a renewed commitment to conversations around race relations and diversity. How lucky we are to be welcoming Wil Haygood, author of our First-Year Text, Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, as our speaker at the New Student Convocation on Friday afternoon. All faculty and staff are encouraged to join me in participating in this timely address and wonderful tradition. I am eager to meet all our students—approximately 16,700 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students across the University.

I wish you the richest of experiences in your academic and extracurricular pursuits throughout the year. May we all continue to embrace our differences and celebrate our diversity as the source of our strength as we come together in the spirit of our shared mission to seek God in all things and contribute to the greater common good.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President