I’m really proud to belong to Loyola University New Orleans.
The New Orleans part of this equation is outstanding – uptown New Orleans is an incredible setting with Audubon Park just across the street; the weather here from September to May is some of the best in the country during those months; we have great food (obviously), amazing music (even more obvious), a burgeoning movie industry, and kind-hearted and giving people; and New Orleans is in the throes of a great renaissance that shows no signs of stopping.
The other end of our name – Loyola University – means we are one of the 28 Catholic and Jesuit Universities in the United States. We have a wonderful identity, rooted in St. Ignatius of Loyola’s vision of God, education, and community. Take that and blend it with our location and we arrive to the “are-you-kidding-me?” moment. What a great place!
I had the honor of speaking at our 100th anniversary celebration a few weeks ago and in my talk I mentioned our great students – creative, dynamic, intellectually curious, and (most importantly) open to growth. I mentioned our great faculty – committed, brilliant, driven to research and teaching (look around, this is a rare combination!). I mentioned how even without our Ignatian values we are a very good private school. But with them, we have something very special.
These are the 12 ideals to which Loyola aspires:
- Pursuit of excellence
- Respect for the world, its history and mystery
- Learning from experience
- Contemplative vision formed by hope
- Development of personal potential
- Critical thinking and effective communication
- Appreciation of things both great and small
- Commitment to service
- Linking faith with justice
- Special concern for the poor and oppressed
- International and global perspective
- Finding God in all things
These are not just slogans to be carted out every few years, dusted off, admired and then again returned to the archives. These are living, breathing testaments of an education grounded in universal truth. They are expressed in our curriculum, in the way we conduct business, and relate to one another. They are at the cornerstone of our community, in our leadership programs, in how we define and direct the formation and development of our students, faculty, and staff.
In sum, these ideals reside at the highest levels of consciousness. Open to all persons of all faiths, they are the application and manifestation of the dream of human unity. They are why Loyola is so important to this community and all of the persons and places all of us at Loyola interact with. We seek to live these ideals every day, as a reminder of what is best in all fields of human endeavor. They live at the very heart of change, for both one’s self and for the greater good.
As we cycle through these ideals, we arrive at the end right where we started, at the very heart of creation. Here we find God in all things. I can hardly imagine an education without this constant reminder, for this is the very essence of transformation and this is why we have Loyola University New Orleans; this is why we have a history to honor, a future to look forward to, these courses, this research, these clubs, these volunteers, these mentors, these advisors, this website, this blog, and so on.
For every day at Loyola, we change the world.