John Sebastian joins LMU mission and ministry

Message from the President
January 12, 2017

Dear LMU Community:

I am pleased to announce that John T. Sebastian, Ph.D., will join LMU as our next vice president for mission and ministry. He will succeed Vice President Robert Caro, S.J., on June 12, 2017.

Dr. Sebastian currently serves as vice president for mission and ministry at Loyola University New Orleans. As Loyola’s chief mission officer, he developed and executed the university’s strategic plan for their Office of Mission and Ministry, served on their President’s Cabinet and other leadership committees, participated in the effort to build a Jesuit center, introduced an Ignatian Faculty Fellows Program, and worked collaboratively with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. In other relevant roles, Dr. Sebastian was in the initial cohort of the Ignatian Colleagues Program and received a certificate for graduate-level coursework in the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College. At Loyola, he served as inaugural director of the Common Curriculum, director of the Medieval Studies Program, and deputy director of Honors. Paralleling his administrative duties, Dr. Sebastian earned the Loyola Faculty Senate’s recognitions for excellence in advising and for teaching and service. He began his academic career at Loyola in 2004 as a member of the English Department.

Dr. Sebastian is an expert on Middle English literature, especially religious drama, devotional poetry, and mystical writing. He has also written about and taught courses on Anglo-Saxon England and Old English literature, Chaucer, Ignatian pedagogy and education, medieval women writers, and Old Norse literature and the Vikings. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 in medieval studies at Cornell University. He has a master’s degree in medieval studies from Cornell University and an M.A. in English from Georgetown University. He earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in English and medieval studies from Georgetown.

My discernment process included feedback from our open community forums and interviewing panels, recommendations from the search committee, and counsel from Vice President Caro. I thank Associate Professor Jose Badenes, S.J., search committee chair, and the committee members (listed below) for conducting the rigorous and comprehensive process that led to this joyful announcement.

I am confident Dr. Sebastian will be an articulate spokesperson for our distinctive mission as a Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount university and will build upon the foundational work of Vice President Caro in promoting it programmatically. Later this semester, I will share plans to celebrate Father Caro’s accomplishments and contributions to our community.

Dr. Sebastian grew up in Nutley, New Jersey; he met his wife, Heather Mack, on a silent Ignatian retreat. Please join me in welcoming John as the newest member of our LMU Lion family.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.

Search Committee Members

José Badenes, S.J., chair and associate professor, modern languages and literatures
Rebecca Chandler, vice president for human resources
Robbin Crabtree, dean, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J., trustee and professor emerita
Abigail Kaun, associate dean, School of Film and Television
Ron Marasco, professor, theatre arts
Cathleen McGrath, associate professor, management
Paul Vu, S.J., assistant dean for student affairs