David W. Burcham, who began his career in education more than 30 years ago, was unanimously elected the 15th president of Loyola Marymount University in October 2010.
Burcham, a recognized expert in the U.S. Constitution, has been a professor of law as well as the senior vice president and dean of the Loyola Law School. He was executive vice president and provost at LMU before being named president by the Board of Trustees.
During his tenure as president, he completed a $400 million capital fundraising drive, initiated reforms to the core curriculum and created an open and inclusive strategic planning process. He was instrumental in securing approval from the city of Los Angeles for the university’s 20-year Master Plan, which provides for significant growth without expanding the campus footprint. To support teaching and research, Burcham as both provost and president has led a multi-year process that cut non-academic spending and repurposed those funds to support academic programs.
Burcham is an ardent advocate of the Jesuit and Marymount heritage that strives to “educate the whole person” and calls on all of us to be “a person for others.”
“At its heart, the LMU mission and our Catholic intellectual tradition rest on the premise that the best education - the one that sustains you for a lifetime - combines academic, social and spiritual pursuits,” Burcham told an LMU convocation at Sacred Heart Chapel. “We see this integration best when our students step out into the world, near or far, to better know and serve the community. This approach inspires a lifelong passion for social justice.”
He has presided over the successful completion in 2012 of the $400 million “Right Place. Right Time. Campaign for LMU” capital campaign. In addition to supporting the endowment, the fund drive backed construction of the William H. Hannon Library and the Life Sciences Building, which breaks ground in May 2013.
Saying that LMU should now focus its priorities on human capital, Burcham in October 2012 launched a $100 million scholarship initiative, with the goal of increasing student financial aid. Burcham has supported diversity on campus as an essential element in creating future global leaders able to match the challenges of the 21st century.
During his term as executive vice president and provost (2008-2010), Burcham focused on academic excellence. He emphasized steady improvement in the quality and caliber of research and teaching at the university. “Striving towards excellence in academics, that is why we are here,” he wrote at the time.
As senior vice president and dean of Loyola Law School (2000-2008), Burcham forged strategic improvements in the curriculum, and practical training programs became a hallmark of the school. Burcham enhanced the size and prestige of the faculty, increasing the number of full-time law professors by almost 15 percent and raising funds to establish seven new faculty chairs. The Byrne Trial Advocacy Team won five national championships during his deanship.
After graduating Loyola Law School in 1984, Burcham clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Byron White (1986-87) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit for Chief Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert (1984-86), and was in private practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (1987-91).
A native of Los Angeles, Burcham earned a B.A. in political science from Occidental College in 1973, and a M.A. in education administration from Cal State Long Beach in 1978. He was a teacher and administrator in the Long Beach Unified School District (1973-81). Burcham and Chris, his wife, have two children.