LMU is seeking photographs, artifacts and oral histories related to the university’s past from alumni, especially those of underrepresented communities. The project, known as the Inclusive History and Images Project, is intended to address important gaps in the university’s institutional history and tell the full and inclusive LMU story.
In the summer of 2020, LMU launched the Anti-Racism Project, a university-wide effort to identify and address the impacts of systemic racism on all members of the university community.
An LMU webpage (lmu.edu/IHIP) provides forms for members of the community, from the Loyola University and Marymount College eras to present-day LMU, to sign up to be interviewed, recommend someone to be interviewed, submit photos and volunteer on the project.
The project is especially designed to elicit materials from people and communities whose stories haven’t been told or haven’t been heard, says Bryant Keith Alexander, co-chair of IHIP and dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts.
“We are casting a very wide net for people who are willing to be interviewed to document their experiences at LMU, Loyola University and Marymount College,” Alexander says, “as well as to share their images so that we can gather that together in a meaningful archive in order to fill the gaps in understanding our institutional history.”
Some events in the university’s history, says Alexander, are known and documented: The university’s refusal in 1950 to play a football game in Texas that would’ve required its Black athletes to sit out the game rather than compete against the opponent’s white players. Another example is LMU Loyola Law School’s decision in the 1930s to admit Jews when almost all other institutions would not.
Although LMU history has many stories of success and achievement, adds Alexander, the IHIP initiative is focused as much on the “untold stories of everyday folk in the life of LMU.” An important purpose of IHIP is to acknowledge the history of Black students, students of color, indigenous students and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
The university benefits, Alexander explains, by bringing to the foreground those everyday stories of people who chose to attend LMU, Loyola University and Marymount College and were drawn to the mission and shaped by their experiences.
Materials collected will add to the university’s history and serve as a resource for scholars and researchers.
IHIP will tell a more complete university history, but it will also help shape LMU’s present and future, says Michael Engh, S.J., LMU chancellor and co-chair of the project. Engh is a member of the class of 1972 and former dean of the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.
“We want to understand what went on in the past, both what was done and what was not done,” Engh says, “and then to improve how we’re conducting things now — to learn from the past to improve our policies, possibly in hiring, possibly in student life and in any of our other areas. We’re a learning institution, so there’s always something to learn and improve upon.”