The House That Pam Built

On Feb. 24, 2020, Greg Boyle, S.J., M.A. ’85, delivered the homily at the memorial service for Pam Rector, director of LMU’s Center for Service and Action. To a congregation that filled every seat and spilled out onto the steps of Sacred Heart Chapel, Boyle said, “She never cared to circle the wagons, only to widen the circle, to draw the family circle large, spacious and expansive. For Pam, there was no need for an ‘in crowd’ since everyone was in.”

Pam Rector, right, with her daughter, Grace.

Pam Rector, who earned a bachelor’s degree (1977) and two master’s degrees (1979, 1982) at LMU, returned to campus in 1998 to lead what would become the Center for Service and Action. For the next 20 years, she directed the center in a way that seemed almost as if no truer words than Boyles description of her had ever been uttered in the chapel. Work for social justice and service to the community has become a hallmark of an LMU education. In 2019, LMU was ranked No. 3 among U.S. universities for “Students Most Engaged in Community Service.” Pam’s role in establishing that reputation would be hard to overestimate. 

Her vision for CSA was straightforward: build a community for service-based learning experiences. Within the Division of Student Affairs, CSA’s offerings — including Alternative Breaks; service organizations; El Espejo, Special Games; ServeLA programs; and more — put students in direct personal contact with marginalized and oppressed persons and communities both in Los Angeles and around the globe. The thousands of students who have participated in CSA have fostered kinship with others, leading to intellectual inquiry, moral reflection and social action. 

“She was connective tissue — she joined us together,” said Greg Boyle, S.J., M.A. ’85

To honor Pam Rector and amplify her impact, LMU has launched an effort to raise a $1 endowment for center, which will be named the Pam Rector Center for Service and Action. The endowment allows the center to build capacity to provide transformational experiences for LMU’s students that will inspire them, in the words of President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., to “create the world we want to live in.”

Boyle, one of Pam Rector’s close friends, described her as someone who not only led but brought people together. Pam, he said “saw wholeness in people. She understood the illusion of separation, which is why she constantly created family and community. She was connective tissue — she joined us together.”

Your gift will be a tribute to the woman who gave Lions the gift of CSA and an endorsement in the future of the Pam Rector Center for Service and Action. Please join us in this effort to honor one of LMU’s great community members. Go to To read testimonies about Pam’s legacy at LMU, go here.