LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4, 2010 – The Loyola Marymount University Board of Trustees has unanimously elected David W. Burcham as the 15th president of the university after a nationwide search. Burcham, who currently serves as the university’s interim president and is a 1984 graduate of Loyola Law School, will be the first lay president in the university’s 99-year history.
The LMU Board of Trustees elected Burcham at its quarterly board meeting on Monday, Oct. 4. He assumes his new position immediately.
In announcing the selection, board Chairman R. Chad Dreier said, “Dave Burcham is the best person to lead LMU. He has a long and distinguished career at the university, both as an educator and as leader, with a passion for our mission manifested in the tradition of our Jesuit and Marymount education. His record of accomplishments speaks directly to LMU’s commitment to academic excellence.”
Burcham’s association with LMU began in 1981. He graduated first in his class from Loyola Law School and, after seven years in public and private practice, he returned to the law school and teaching. He was appointed senior vice president and dean of the law school in 2000, and served in that capacity until 2008 when he was named LMU’s executive vice president and provost. In 2010, Burcham took over leadership of the university when Father Robert B. Lawton, S.J. resigned for health reasons.
“We respect the process, procedures and the integrity of the Search Committee and their extraordinary efforts to find applicants, including Jesuit applicants,” said both Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and Coadjutor Archbishop José Gomez. “We support the steps taken by the Board of Trustees and we look forward to working with David Burcham.”
Father John McGarry, S.J., provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, added his endorsement of the new LMU president. “I fully support Dave Burcham,” said Father McGarry. “I’m very impressed by his dedication to LMU and his commitment to the Catholic identity and the Jesuit and Marymount traditions of the university.”
Mary Genino, R.S.H.M., Western Province superior of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and a member of the LMU Board of Trustees, agreed with Father McGarry saying, “I was on the search committee and we were a hundred percent in our support for Dave Burcham. We selected the best candidate and most qualified candidate. We also were impressed with the broad based support and confidence that Dave enjoys with the LMU community.”
“We set a very high bar for what we wanted and expected in our next president, including academic excellence, executive leadership, fundraising experience and furtherance of our Jesuit, Marymount and Catholic traditions,” said vice chair of the LMU Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, Kathleen Aikenhead. “Dave Burcham already has proved himself.”
As LMU’s interim president, Burcham has strengthened the university for the long term by overseeing the current $380 million capital campaign and the 20-year Master Plan for future growth. To that end, he reconfigured the university budget during the recent economic downturn, to ensure that academics remained fully funded.
At the same time LMU moved up to No. 3 in the “Best Regional Universities West” category of the 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges.” The Education Trust named LMU among 11 public and private universities nationwide for the best combined graduation rates for Hispanic and African American students. In 2009-2010, LMU was named a "top producer" of Fulbright awards among institutions with master's degree programs by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“LMU has a reputation for its pursuit of academic excellence and for the way its students, faculty and alumni live out the principles of a Jesuit and Marymount education,” said Burcham. “I am honored to have been chosen and join with the LMU Board of Trustees, the founding religious communities, faculty, staff, students and dedicated alumni as we begin together the next century of educational excellence at this great Catholic university.”
During his tenure as dean of Loyola Law School, Burcham oversaw a host of innovative programs, including the Business Law Practicum, the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, the London IP Institute and the Tax LLM program.
Burcham also strengthened the law school’s financial foundation. He raised money to establish seven new faculty chairs, as well as completing the Girardi Advocacy Center. The school’s endowment more than doubled under his watch.
He is a recognized authority on constitutional law, clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for Chief Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert (1984-86) and the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Byron White (1986-87) and was in private practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (1987-91).
A native of Los Angeles, Burcham earned a B.A. in political science from Occidental College in 1973, and a M.A. in education administration from Cal State Long Beach in 1978. Prior to attending law school, he was a teacher and administrator from 1973 to 1981. Burcham and Chris, his wife, have been married for 36 years. They have two children.