Loyola’s Jesuit Community Funds a Professorship—and a Heritage

By Carl Luty

The declining number of Jesuit faculty members stands as a challenge to our nation’s Jesuit institutions. Loyola is meeting this challenge impressively, sustaining its Jesuit identity and maintaining the vigor of Jesuit values.

That’s the word from Rev. Brian McDermott, S.J., rector of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, the majority of whose members live in Loyola’s Ignatius House on the east side of campus. “The Ignatian spirit is alive and well here at Loyola,” he said. “By and large, our faculty and staff get it. And our deans provide inspired leadership, leadership driven by their abiding commitment to core Jesuit values.”

But safeguarding the values at the heart of our Ignatian heritage requires perpetual effort. This understanding explains Fr. McDermott’s excitement about the Jesuit Community’s most recent donation to the University—a $330,000 gift to establish an endowed chair reserved for a distinguished Jesuit scholar and teacher. The visiting faculty member will serve for one semester each year.

This gift marks the culmination of the Community’s four-year effort to reach the $1.5 million threshold necessary to fund the chair in perpetuity.

“We’re thrilled,” said Fr. McDermott. “Our next goal is to double the funding so that we can make this a full-year program.”

Fr. McDermott sees the endowed chair as a way of fortifying a faculty whose internalization of Jesuit values he finds impressive, reassuring, and uplifting. “This first-ever chair for a Jesuit faculty member will help enrich the understanding of our Ignatian mission.”

The Jesuit Community’s gift is discipline-neutral. “Chair-holders, depending on their academic credentials, can teach in any of our departments,” said Fr. McDermott. “What matters is bringing on board another professor of distinction who will inspire our students and engage in lively intellectual dialogue with his colleagues.”

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