Loyola Marymount University shares in a rich intellectual heritage dating from the earliest centuries of Christianity. This Catholic intellectual tradition sees a mutually fertile relationship between faith and reason and thus seeks to promote dialogue between culture and religion. The distinctive character of Loyola Marymount is enhanced by the Jesuit and Marymount educational traditions of its founding religious orders—the Society of Jesus, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. The faculty and staff of LMU share a commitment, to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and social justice as hallmarks of a contemporary Catholic university, particularly one in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions. The women and men honored in the Faculty Hall of Fame are amongst the most extraordinary exemplars of this commitment.
Tracing its roots to first school sanctioned by Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, in 1548, the Jesuit educational tradition has at its heart the goal of forming students who will live lives of leadership and service. Today, 28 institutions make up the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The tradition emphasizes that the liberal arts, the natural and social sciences, and the performing arts, joined with solid philosophy and theology, indeed all the branches of knowledge, are powerful means to develop leaders with the potential for influencing and transforming society. The Jesuit ideal of giving serious attention to the profound questions about the meaning of life encourages an openness of mind and heart, and seeks to establish campus communities which support the intellectual growth of all of its members while providing them with opportunities for spiritual growth and development. As such the Jesuit tradition seeks to educate the whole person and to develop students able to integrate critical intelligence with an ethical perspective that leads to generous service of others and a commitment to help build a more just and humane world so all they do may be done ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God.
The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary have conducted educational institutions since their establishment in France in 1849 by Father Jean Gailhac. The Marymount tradition in higher education began in 1907 when Mother Joseph Butler, R.S.H.M, founded the first Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have partnered with the RSHM in their ministry at LMU since 1968. The Marymount tradition emphasizes a rigorous liberal arts education, taking seriously philosophy and theology, while also developing each student’s creative abilities in the fine, performing, and communication arts, in order to form students committed to living ethical lives as spiritual beings. The tradition promotes the dignity of all human beings, especially of women and girls, by allowing each person to develop his or her own talents and gifts for the service of others. Inspired by Gailhac’s call that the sisters adapt themselves to whatever culture in which they ministered, it inherently embraces internationality and develops in its students a respect for all cultures. The Marymount education tradition cares for and forms the total person—culturally, intellectually, ethically, spiritually, and physically—so that all may have life and have it to the full.
These two traditions of education have come together in Los Angeles as Loyola Marymount University. The successor to the first institution of higher education in Southern California, St. Vincent’s College, LMU wedded these educational philosophies in the 1973 merger of Loyola University and Marymount College. Since the merger, which was the first in the United States to preserve the traditions and identities of two founding institutions in both its name and practice, the university has continued to build upon the Jesuit and Marymount educational traditions that are the bedrock of LMU’s mission:
The encouragement of learning
The education of the whole person
The service of faith and the promotion of justice.