Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President


A Note from the President, February 2020

February 13, 2020

Dear Loyola Community,

In February 1870, construction of St. Ignatius College at 12th and May Streets in Chicago continued through the winter weather. In the face of delays and debates about the value and feasibility of the project, Fr. Arnold Damen, SJ, the Jesuits, and the BVMs persevered. The college that became Loyola opened its doors that fall with room enough for its initial enrollment, but the college building, already being heralded as one of the city’s most beautiful, was far from finished inside. It was still a work in progress.

Marking our Sesquicentennial from now through the 2020-2021 academic year, we reflect with gratitude and even wonder on this tenuous beginning, Loyola’s growth into an international university, and the ways we continue to evolve to anticipate the needs of our local and global society. In this sense, Chicago’s Jesuit university is always a work in progress.

In January we came together in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during our annual MLK Week sponsored by the Executive Council on Diversity. Poet and scholar Clint Smith examined the legacy of slavery and its continuing impact, and David Stovall challenged us all to continue the struggle around race, equitable housing, health care, and quality education. The people of our Loyola community participated in record numbers for MLK Service Days at sites across the city.

Our Opus Prize Jury, comprising alumni and other friends of the University, met to review 20 nominations from a diverse array of faith-based nonprofit organizations from around the world and choose three semi-finalists to be considered for the Opus Prize. As part of our 150th anniversary, we are honored to partner with the Opus Prize to award $1.2 million to entrepreneurial nonprofits working to alleviate human suffering somewhere in the world.

Next month’s Climate Change Conference hosted by the Institute for Environmental Sustainability has as its theme “Accompanying Youth to a Hope-Filled Future,” and it will feature a keynote conversation with youth climate leaders. Panels and lectures will examine how climate change is driving displacement and global migration, consider climate advocacy through art, and highlight the work of some of Chicago’s leading youth activists.

We welcome new academic leaders to our mission this month. Norberto Grzywacz, a renowned academic leader and scholar, began his service as our new provost February 1. Norberto enjoyed meeting faculty members last week at receptions at our Water Tower, Health Sciences, and Lake Shore campuses, and looks forward to more introductory events in the coming weeks. Elaine Morrato, a public health expert with a diverse background in academics and private industry, officially commenced her work as founding dean of the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health. Morrato joins Loyola from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Trained in epidemiology and board-certified in public health, her research focuses on translating medical innovation into clinical practice.

On February 26, Loyola presents the 44th annual Edward L. Surtz, S.J. Lecture in the Humanities. This year’s lecturer is Robert Alter, professor of Hebrew and comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Alter’s translation of the complete Hebrew Bible was published by Norton in 2018. His visit to Loyola is co-sponsored by the Edward Surtz Lecture Fund, the John Cardinal Cody Endowed Chair in Theology, and the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.

On February 28, the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility will bring together senior executives who seek to integrate business strategy and social purpose in the Leading for Good day-long conference, part of the center’s series that includes best-practice learning sessions, interactive networking opportunities, and skills-based workshops that help leaders accelerate social value creation.

Notes and Accolades: Congratulations to Tavis Jules and Florin Salajan, faculty in the School of Education, on their new book The Educational Intelligent Economy: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things in Education, a timely look at how to keep rapid advances in technology from overwhelming reflection in the classroom. Kudos as well to Dean Michael Kaufmann at the Law School on the publication by the Cambridge University Press of his book, Badges and Incidents: A Transdisciplinary History of the Right to Education in America.

At the Quinlan School of Business, professor Nancy Landrum was recognized for her work during 2019 as a Fulbright Scholar helping shape a Malaysian university’s approach to sustainability.

Mark G. Kuczewski, director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy at the Stritch School of Medicine, was named one of 12 Hastings Center Fellows, a prestigious cohort of about 200 individuals whose accomplishments and ongoing work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology. I am pleased to note that 33 Stritch School of Medicine faculty were named to Chicago magazine’s 2020 Top Doctors List.

Programs in our School of Continuing and Professional Studies were included in the top-15 in the nation is the most recent US News & World Report rankings, and our undergraduate online programs were ranked eighth in the nation.

These achievements and recognitions are examples of the work that takes place every day on our campuses and in communities around the world, and they are made possible by the support of countless people in our extended Loyola family. We are called to inspire hope in the world as we continue to grow and evolve in our mission to positively impact society, and all of us are a part of this living legacy.

Loyola community members filled Madonna della Strata Chapel January 26 for a memorial mass and celebration of the life of Robert “Bob” L. Parkinson, Jr. (BBA ’73, MBA ’75), the late chair of Loyola University Chicago’s Board of Trustees. It was a great comfort to the Parkinson family to be able to connect with so many in our community who have been touched and inspired by Bob’s commitment, generosity, and infectious energy. Many had a chance to record their memories of and tributes to Bob on cards provided at the reception, and we will share your tributes with the family.

Thank you for your generosity of mind and spirit, and for all you do for Loyola and our students.

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD

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