Letter From

Letter from the President

By David W. Burcham

President David W. Burcham reflects on a gift offered to a family with financial struggles that later was paid back to the university many times over.

 

Please enjoy this special edition of LMU Magazine, which celebrates our very successful campaign, “Right Place. Right Time. The Campaign for LMU.” It is packed with stories that make clear this fund drive was about so much more than fundraising.

I have my own story to illustrate the point. It captures the essence of LMU, and why we choose to work so hard to sustain the centuries-old Jesuit tradition of bringing education to unserved people and places.

A number of years ago, a young man enrolled in this university, and because his father had just died, he lacked the money to attend. His mother, undaunted, went to the then-president and offered a deal: Let my son attend and he will pay you back when he graduates and is working.

It was a hard time for the university. The country was in economic distress, but my predecessor agreed. A few years later, the young graduate had paid his bills, and a few years after that he began making very generous donations to the university to provide scholarships and eventually to fund large projects and buildings.

Today, we look back on the just-concluded campaign and on the library it funded, which is appropriately named for that student, William H. Hannon.

Of course, today, that type of arrangement has been replaced by scholarships, but the decision by then-President Hugh C. Duce, S.J., stands as a model for us: Feed the present and you enrich the future.

In this city, in this wealthy nation, we still have students who do not have the means to come here. We must do all we can
to ensure that all who qualify are able to attend. The students, now alumni, who have populated LMU, are the reason we are a great university. In our diversity — ethnic, racial, economic, religious and geographic — we see our strength and the value of a Jesuit and Catholic education.

Excellence in academics is impossible if an education is exclusive or offered only to the privileged. We have built a diverse student body because it reflects the global community in which we live and work and because it is the right thing to do to prepare our students for the future.

Enjoy the magazine; join me in celebrating our generous donors and all that we have achieved in bringing LMU to a new level with a very successful fundraising campaign. We recognize that it is just one milestone in our quest to do what this community, this country and this world desperately need.

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