Pam Rector

Message from the President
February 17, 2020

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Pam Rector ’77, M.A. ’79, M.Ed. ’82, director of the Center for Service and Action (CSA), passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 15, 2020. She was 65 years old.

Over the course of her 22 years at LMU, including 20 as founding director of CSA, Ms. Rector helped revolutionize how LMU shares our mission with the world and ensures that our students become people for and with others. Last year, LMU was ranked No. 3 nationally for “Students Most Engaged in Community Service” by the Princeton Review, a public testimony to Ms. Rector’s creativity, compassion, and dedication.

Ms. Rector joined LMU in August 1998 as the director of what was then known as EPIC (Educational Participation in Communities Program) Career Development Service. She then served for a year as director of the Center for Community Service and Internships and, in 2000, she became director of the Center for Service and Action. In 2019, Ms. Rector received the Barbara Bonney Staff Award for professional excellence, commitment to higher education, leadership, and her unique contribution to improving the quality of life, through her service, at LMU. Ms. Rector won many prestigious accolades for her work, including the Madonna Della Strada Award from the Los Angeles Regional Council of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps in 2012.

During her impactful tenure, the number of LMU service organizations grew to 10, including more than 450 students. LMU’s Alternative Breaks program, which started as one trip for a dozen students, now serves nearly 150 students on 12 trips annually. Ms. Rector was a driving force behind the creation of the LMU Children’s Center, served as a coordinator of Campus Conversations on Catholic Identity, and was a mentor to innumerable students and staff, to name only a few of the many additional roles she has played. She also served a term as chair of the alumni board.

Ms. Rector began her professional career at Lennox Middle School, first as a counselor, then as vice principal, from 1980-1997, gaining experiences that she treasured and that informed her work. Her transformative work helped forge the renowned El Espejo mentoring program, an enduring connection between LMU and the Lennox district.

Ms. Rector earned her M.A. in counseling in 1979, her M.Ed. in administration in 1982, and her B.A. in psychology in 1977—all at LMU. Indeed, she had a Lion’s heart.

This year, Ms. Rector encouraged her CSA staff to focus on gratitude, reminding them that even small, thoughtful actions can change lives. She emphasized the importance of caring for the whole person and opening up to our students, which in turn allows them to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and seek the support they need.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Pam will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Pam’s honor to LMU’s Center for Service and Action or Homeboy Industries.

Please keep Pam, her daughter, Grace, their extended family Arelly, Alejandra, Jorge, German, and Liz, and her many friends and admirers in your prayers.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.