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About President Burcham

David Burcham Headshot David W. Burcham, who began his career in education more than 30 years ago, was elected the university's 15th president on October 4, 2010, in a unanimous decision by the LMU Board of Trustees. 

Previously, Burcham served as interim president, executive vice president and provost at LMU.

Burcham’s association with LMU has been long and successful. He graduated first in his class from Loyola Law School in 1984 and, after seven years in public and private practice, he returned to Loyola Law School and his first love ­­– teaching. He was appointed senior vice president and dean of the law school in 2000, and served in that capacity until he was named LMU’s executive vice president and provost in 2008.

During his term as executive vice president and provost, Burcham championed academic excellence. He emphasized steady improvement in the quality and caliber of research and teaching at the university. “Striving towards excellence in academics, that is why we are here,” he told a recent convocation.

As LMU’s chief operating officer, Burcham has strengthened the university for the long term by overseeing the current $380 million capital fund drive and the 20-year Master Plan for future growth.

To that end, he reconfigured the university budget during the recent economic downturn, transferring funds from various support functions to ensure that academics remained fully funded. He also charged the chief academic officer with modernizing the core curriculum and academic requirements. 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.

On the financial front, he has declared an end to over-reliance on tuition increases to finance university operations. Instead, he has supported a vigorous grant application program and increasing the “Right Place, Right Time” capital campaign fundraising goal from $300 million to $380 million despite the recession.

To build for the future, he has given priority to winning approval for the campus 20-year Master Plan. The plan creates the necessary entitlements for university expansion and growth. “It is critical in terms of setting the future direction of the university to have facilities and a campus that support academic excellence,” he said.

During his tenure as dean of Loyola Law School, Burcham forged strategic improvements in the curriculum. He 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. Practical training programs became a hallmark of the curriculum under Burcham’s stewardship. The Byrne Trial Advocacy Team won five national championships during his deanship and he oversaw the creation of the National Civil Trial Competition, one of the country’s preeminent mock trial events.

Burcham enhanced the size and prestige of the faculty, increasing the number of full-time law professors by almost 15 percent. He also worked with faculty to establish programs in their core areas of expertise, including the Center for the Study of Law & Genocide, the Civil Justice Program, the Distinguished William J. Landers Lecture on Prosecutorial Ethics, the Fidler Institute on Criminal Justice, the Intellectual Property Special Focus Series, the Journalist Law School and the Sports Law Institute.

Burcham also strengthened the law school’s financial foundation. He raised money to establish seven new faculty chairs, as well as paying for and completing the Girardi Advocacy Center and its flagship classroom, the Robinson Courtroom. With that accomplished, he instituted a building moratorium to focus on the school’s endowment, which more than doubled under his watch.

He is a recognized authority on constitutional law, clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Byron White (1986-87) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for Chief Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert (1984-86), 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. Burcham and Chris, his wife, have been married for 36 years. They have two children.

For more information about President Burcham, visit the president's home page here.


(Sep. 2010)