Thank You, Vice President for Intercultural Affairs Jennifer Abe

April 29, 2021 

Dear LMU Community: 

Professor Jennifer Abe will complete her transformational two-year term as vice president for Intercultural Affairs in December 2021. She recently shared with me that she will return to the faculty full time in January 2022 to continue her teaching, scholarship, and service in LMU’s Psychology Department following a sabbatical. We will benefit from VP Abe’s daily guidance and leadership of OIA through the end of the year, and we continue to be elevated by her trademark care and commitment to our community’s progress through action.

VP Abe’s impactful leadership enabled our university to navigate one of the most challenging moments in our nation’s history. After the murder of George Floyd, and against the backdrop of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, challenged further by a contentious presidential election, she cultivated partnerships, coalitions, and lifelong friendships—rallying the LMU community in a virtual environment, with listening sessions, town halls, and online forums—all with the singular purpose of making LMU proactively anti-racist. VP Abe showcased her equanimity and authenticity; in the process, she helped us realize how our Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount values and mission can continually call upon us to be persons for and with others, demanding social justice and inclusion for all as purposeful acts of faith. 

Along with the Intercultural Affairs team, and colleagues and students from across the university, VP Abe launched LMU’s Anti-Racism Project, an institutional priority that invites and challenges members of the LMU community to engage in a collective commitment to anti-racism. This vigorous commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is also central to our Strategic Plan and will be woven into everything we do, going forward. 

We will soon conduct a national search to find candidates for this indispensable position. We will soon announce a search committee that will advise me as we seek and select our next executive diversity, equity, and inclusion leader. I hope that VP Abe’s successor, in partnership with our LMU community, will build on the lasting legacies of VP Robinson-Armstrong and VP Abe, to ensure that our words and actions continue to yield outcomes while addressing underlying structural and systemic issues that keep us from becoming who we might best be. Together, we will evolve our institution and fully equip our students to become vectors for the greater good, who will change society and redirect the arc of history toward justice.

We have been blessed to have Jennifer at the helm of Intercultural Affairs during such a consequential stage in this journey. I remain indebted to her for her plentiful creativity, boundless compassion, and long hours—for being a leader who exemplifies discernment, empathy, and integrity in all that she does, as is her way of working so rightly and so joyfully with others.

With sincere appreciation and thanks, 

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.