Patrick J. Cahalan, S.J.

Message from the President
February 14, 2020

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that the Rev. Patrick J. Cahalan, S.J., emeritus chancellor of the university, passed away on Feb. 14, 2020, at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 86 years old.

Father Cahalan joined LMU in 1997 as associate chancellor, and in 2002 he was appointed chancellor. In 2018, he assumed the role of chancellor emeritus. Father Cahalan’s devotion to education and his deep faith invigorated his bold leadership, which helped transform our university. Historian, educator, administrator and, above all, priest, Father Cahalan left an indelible impact on generations of high school and university students and their families. His landmark work as chancellor propelled LMU’s academic and physical growth. 

Father Cahalan fostered a culture of philanthropy, inspiring alumni, friends, and benefactors to invest in the university for the betterment of our human future. His fundraising prowess included establishing the Chancellor Scholarships in April 1999, supported by William H. Hannon, to provide financial assistance to students from middle-income families who have attended Jesuit prep schools prior to coming to LMU. In 2002-2005, Father Cahalan initiated the “Building on the Past/Building for the Future” campaign, which helped launch the university into a period of robust expansion, which included the addition of University Hall. Realizing the importance of expanding students’ global perspectives, Father Cahalan also worked with several foundations to fund scholarships for study abroad programs in Ireland. 

Upon graduating from Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California, Father Cahalan entered the Society of Jesus in August 1952. He earned his B.A. from Gonzaga University in 1958. He was ordained in 1965, in San Francisco, California, then earned his M.A. in theology from Santa Clara University in 1966, and his M.A. in history in 1968 from Loyola University of Los Angeles, at which time he became a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society.

Father Cahalan’s impactful career began at Loyola High School of Los Angeles. In 1969, after two years as assistant dean of students of Loyola University, he was named president and rector of Loyola High School of Los Angeles. From 1975 to 1981, he served as executive vice president of Loyola High School; and from 1981 to 1996, he was president and treasurer. As testament to his enduring contributions over his 27-year tenure, the Loyola High School Alumni Association of Los Angeles instituted The Cahalan Award in 2002, presented annually to outstanding alumni who embody the spirit of St. Ignatius’s magis.

Father Cahalan received the Medallion of Merit, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Los Angeles; the St. Ignatius Loyola Medallion, Loyola High School of Los Angeles; and Santa Claran of the Year, Santa Clara University Alumni Association, Los Angeles Chapter. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m., at Sacred Heart Chapel on the Loyola Marymount University campus. A 
reception in Sculpture Garden will follow. Gifts can be made to the Rev. Patrick J. Cahalan, S.J. Endowed Scholarship at Loyola Marymount University that will provide scholarship support for undergraduate students who graduate from Loyola High School.

Please keep Pat, his family, and his many friends and admirers in your prayers. 


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.