Summer 2017


Virtue Reality

If the question “Why am I here?” is the most foundational question humans ask themselves, then “What is sin?” must be second. The Seven Deadly Sins have been with us for centuries. Their guise may change, but their appeal never weakens. Here we examine the Seven Deadly Sins — they’re still with us, as deadly as ever.


Lisa See ’79

Lisa See is the author of 10 novels and a nonfiction book that explore Chinese and Chinese-American experiences in the United States. Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch talks with See about her new novel, “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,” and her days as an LMU undergraduate, when she was certain she’d never be a writer.

English Professor Paul Harris Reads His Poem Greed

His poem, Greed, is in a form of creative writing known as constrained writing, in which the author chooses to write within a constraint. Here, the choice to use only one vowel (called monovocalism) was suggested by the titular word — the long e sound of greed expresses its sense.

Kirstin Harper-Smith M.B.A. ’15

Kirstin Harper-Smith, senior project manager with Suffolk Construction, has been involved with major construction projects in downtown Los Angeles. We asked her to share her thoughts about the L.A. skyline and her 10 favorite tall buildings.

Heart of Comedy

No subject, or politician, is sacrosanct from a jokester’s wit, and some of the most memorable comedians have wielded the sharpest skewers. But among the funniest usually are those who see a human experience that they, we and their targets share. What’s funny tends to come the from heart and reside there long afterward. We asked Jim McDermott, S.J., screenwriter and comedy connoisseur who has taken his own courageous turn at stand-up, to share 10 of comedy’s best at feeding our spirits while seeing the lovely foolishness of our humanity.

Beast of Burden

Gerrymandering, the drawing of boundaries of electoral districts, is shaping up to be one of the most contentious issues in politics for the next several years, partly due to increased interest on the part of the United States Supreme Court in cases involving congressional districts in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Here’s a guide to gerrymandering and a look at one notorious congressional district in North Carolina.

Leaving Home

In “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,” Li-yan is a young woman who cultivates tea plants in China’s Yunnan Province with her extended family who are part of a Chinese ethnic minority known as the Akha. In this excerpt, Li-yan secretly travels to a nearby city to leave her infant, Yan-yeh, born out of wedlock, at an orphanage. In the family’s mountain village, Li-yan’s fatherless daughter would be killed in accordance with Akha custom. In addition to giving Yan-yeh life, Li-yan wraps a tea cake, a talisman of their family’s culture, in Yan-yeh’s blanket.

American Limbo

On Nov. 30, 2016, the presidents of 27 U.S. Jesuit universities promised to “protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students” on their campuses and to promote the retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Just weeks later, the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference did the same. We asked an alumna who came to the United States as a 10-year-old with her parents to share her experiences and her hopes for her and her family’s future. To shield her from possible deportation, her identity is purposely being withheld.

Hiding Love

When Bryant Verador ’06 proposed marriage to Shalimar Zabanal ’06, he turned the occasion into a unique game of hide-and-seek.

Colton Plaia ’13, Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Colton Plaia finished a stellar career at LMU in 2013 by earning a spot on the West Coast Conference All-Conference first team and being named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted in June that year by the New York Mets, and we caught up with him this past spring in Binghamton, New York, where he catches for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Mets’ Double-A affiliate.

Midfielder: Sarina Bolden

Sarina Bolden’s standout play during the 2016 LMU women’s soccer caught the attention of U.S. Soccer and earned her an invitation to a U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team training camp this past spring.

A Conversation With Demian Willette

Using a testing technique known as Environmental DNA, Demian Willette, a biology instructor in the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, and his students study fish fraud — the mislabeling of fish species — as a way of improving the traceability of fish in the food supply chain.

What You See

The conflict between government and the Fourth Estate that Americans now witness is illuminating the relationship between politics and information. What happens to a representative political system when truth and reality become contested, or even subverted, by actors within the institution itself? Political chaos is a sorry and dangerous state of affairs in a nation’s life. Informational chaos may be equally threatening to an open, democratic society.

Origins: Meghna Singhvi

The origin story of Meghna Singhvi, professor of accounting in the College of Business Administration, started in Udaipur, India, and, after stopovers in Ohio and Kentucky, it brought her to her home in Los Angeles.

Scholarship Initiative

LMU’s five-year Scholarship Initiative, launched in October 2012, successfully ended earlier this year by topping its $100 million goal by $3 million, a “record-setting achievement,” said President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. The initiative was launched to relieve financial pressure felt by families and students who seek an LMU education and to enhance the university’s ability to attract a high-caliber and diverse student body. Meeting both priorities will continue to be important to LMU’s future. “LMU will build on this momentum,” Snyder said, “to extend our shared vision of global imagination, to remain synonymous with academic excellence, and to deepen our Jesuit and Marymount tradition of transforming our students into women and men for and with others.”

A Conversation With Marissa Montes LLS ’12 and Emily Robinson LLS ’12

Marissa Montes and Emily Robinson are co-directors of Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, which they founded in 2012 at Loyola Law School. LIJC provides free consultations and legal services and education twice a week to the immigrant community of Los Angeles at Homeboy Industries and Dolores Mission Catholic Church, as well as real-world experience in immigration law to Loyola Law School students. We spoke to them about recent developments in immigration issues in Los Angeles.

The Contester

George H. Dunne, S.J., ’26 was a prominent voice in the U.S. Catholic Church for integration, ecumenism and economic development in developing nations.

LMU Announces Playa Vista Campus

LMU Playa Vista Campus will house graduate programs for the School of Film and Television and provide space for academic and creative activities and events. Opening in fall 2018, it will be located in The Brickyard Playa Vista.