Welcome Back, Lions!

September 1, 2021

Dear LMU Community:

Welcome to the fall 2021 semester! Whether you are at LMU Loyola Law School, the Playa Vista campus, or on the Bluff, we are one LMU family and are eager to get into a new rhythm together with agility and grace.  

Accompanying this new cadence are plentiful new faces. I extend warmest Lion welcomes to our new faculty and staff, and to all our new students attending LMU in-person classes for the first time: our first- and second-years, our transfer students, our grad students, and our law students. We have been waiting for this moment for a year and a half, and I can finally say: LMU is back.

Entering Classes at a Glance

We welcome the most diverse, accomplished entering classes in LMU’s history

  • We enrolled 1,700 first-years, 450 new transfers, and 800 new graduate students from 47 states and 63 nations (overall, our students represent all 50 states, D.C., and 90 nations); 
  • We increased first-year enrollment by over 150 students, while maintaining a selective average GPA of 3.9;
  • International students comprise 9 percent of new first-years and 9 percent of new transfers;
  • The number of Black students increased by over 50 percent for this year’s first-year class, now comprising 9 percent of first-years;
  • Latinx students comprise 25 percent of the first-year class, representing a 25 percent increase from fall 2020;
  • Our J.D. entering class is likewise outstanding: Of the 307 day students and 45 evening students, 65 percent are women; 42 percent are from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds; and over one-third are first-generation students. The median LSAT is 161 (up from 160 last year), and median GPA is 3.64 (up from 3.60 last year). 

A Bluff Transformed

Along with new faces, we experience our campus transformed. I am thrilled to share that the new and spectacular Howard B. Fitzpatrick SFTV Pavilion and the upcoming Drollinger Family Stage on Lawton Plaza are amplifying our creative horizons. Our expanded student housing facilities have already reached full capacity with 3,700 students. The Bird Nest will soon be officially inaugurated as our Black Student Space. You can view these changes on our new campus maps; inaugural events for the Pavilion, the Stage, and Black Student Space will be announced soon.  

We Are Ready for You

I realize that excitement about returning to in-person learning, working, and co-curricular experiences is accompanied by some anxiety. We have been preparing for your arrival since last summer, and I assure you that your health and safety remain our top priority. We are constantly adapting and evolving, having learned lessons about ourselves, one another, and our abilities to rise to challenge after challenge while building a stronger and more vibrant, and creative, community. In this spirit, I ask that you proceed with a renewed sense of flexibility, curiosity, and open-mindedness. Your cooperation will help us in our continuing efforts to keep you informed, safe, and healthy. 

Our LMU Together website includes an updated A-Z Index with pertinent and helpful information to guide you in these early days of the semester. We seek to answer the most-pressing questions. If you have a concern that is not included, please share your idea and we will address it ASAP. Of course, we will continue to share college and school newsletters; my presidential video briefings; messages from deans; community advisories; and LMU This Week. Also, you can stay informed about confirmed COVID-19 cases by visiting LMU’s COVID Dashboard and LMU Loyola Law School’s COVID Dashboard

For and With Others: Vaccination and Mask Requirements  

Widespread vaccinations have rendered our return to campus possible. Even with less common breakthrough cases, vaccinations are the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus. Our vaccination requirement for students, faculty, and staff has yielded excellent results: As of this week, 100 percent of our students who access campus this fall semester are fully vaccinated, have an approved medical or religious exemption, or are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated. Of these, roughly 2 percent have medical or religious exemptions. This month, we expect that 100 percent of faculty and staff who access campus will be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.

Please be aware that students, faculty, and staff who are approved for an exemption are required to test twice weekly. Masks are a no-brainer (and legally required in L.A. County), and wearing them indoors is non-negotiable. Those who do not comply will face consequences. These protocols are consistent with our mission and exemplify our being persons for and with others. 

I am grateful that thousands of students, faculty, and staff have already submitted their vaccination records. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with these requirements, which enable us to be #LMUTogether

DEI Commitments

This semester and beyond, we are energized by continuing to pursue our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments, per our Anti-Racism Project and our Strategic Plan. I look forward to building community with all Lions, including our Black, Latinx, AAPI, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, international students, faculty, and staff, those with disabilities, and other members of the LMU family. I am committed to inclusion, to developing our capacities and intentional collaborations with each other, across disciplines, borders, and identities. This is an action of justice, as is frequently noted; it is also an action that will bring about a brighter future through our creativity. 

I welcome the chance to work with Dr. Branden Grimmett and Dr. Brad Stone, who will serve as the co-chairs for the President’s Black Leadership Advisory Council, PBLAC, to help achieve our shared goal to live our anti-racism commitments, thereby expressing our mission more fully. PBLAC’s membership and collective wisdom and counsel are companions to my discernment and decision making. 

I am grateful to work with each of you to uphold our Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount values and mission, which is a true north in guiding our Anti-Racism Project. 

Looking Ahead

  • The Mass of the Holy Spirit will be celebrated on Sept. 21 at 11:15 a.m. in Sculpture Garden. This annual celebration in Jesuit education, dating back to 1548, inaugurates our academic year and provides inspiration for the months ahead. An invitation is forthcoming. As Provost Poon shared in his letter to faculty, we ask that faculty consider ending their 10 to 11:30 a.m. classes early and starting their noon to 1:30 p.m. classes late so that all may participate. I look forward to seeing you there.
  • Faculty Pub Night is a three-for-one opportunity, where you can engage with the LMU community and learn from our talented faculty about their scholarship, all while making friends over a nosh and a drink. 
  • I am eager to share my convocation address with you on Nov. 16 on the new Drollinger Family Stage, which is soon to be up and running (details are forthcoming for that, too).
  • For a full list of thought-provoking events, please view our LMU community calendar.  

Lions, this semester will be unlike any we have experienced: coming back to our campuses after a long time away, experiencing joy in seeing old friends and in making new ones. We will also encounter more challenges while navigating the nuances and ambiguities of our campuses and our world. As global citizens, we remain steadfast in embracing our common humanity and in forging nonviolent solutions to society’s complex challenges.

We owe it to one another, and to ourselves, to support each other with the awareness that we have all overcome an extraordinary 18 months. We can never fully know what those around us have endured or may endure. My faith in our strength, and the strength of our faith, give me confidence that we will continue to rise and create the world we want to live in. Let’s enjoy this moment, and those to be. 

With bountiful appreciation and gratitude,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.