Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Loyola’s Rebirth

Chris Saksa

This past Monday I attended Father Linnane’s State of the College address discussing the future plans of Loyola College. Through discussion of our current economic position and the future fundamental plans of our school Father Linnane provides assurance that our college, and soon to be university, is in strong standing. He touched heavily upon our financial situation due to the state of our economy to make sure his audience was comfortable with our economic direction in the future by presenting Loyola’s new strategy of creating revenue. He also introduced a strategic plan that will be put in place once we shed our old title of “College” and become a “University”. Explained through his well detailed and confident speech Loyola will not only continue to be one of the finest comprehensive catholic universities, but hopefully reach the goal of being at the top of that list.
The opening fifteen minutes focused heavily on the school’s plans on maintaining financial stability in an economy that may be at its worst since the Great Depression. Having around fifty-five million dollars in our endowment already, Father Linnane assured his audience that we are in a good position entering the perceived recession. Because monetary aid from alumni, donors, and the state (15% cut due to the current and foreseen economic troubles) is expected to be lowered substantially, Father Linnane presented a new economic plan that the school will now be abiding to. He stated that there will be a tightening of the budget and significant focus on further improving our efficiencies. In addition, the school is looking into new means of assisting students and their families so that Loyola University is as accessible as possible. The assets that are used will focus on executing the new positioning strategy, with two examples being the marketing research by the Scarborough Group and a new developed website to be revealed with the new designation. This sound financial footing will continue the Jesuit teaching as a “transformative educational experience”.
The next twenty minutes of his presentation focused on the University’s new strategic plan, which he described as, “dramatic and historic”. This plan is to ultimately transform educational experience while keeping the Jesuit ideals that the school is built from. This new plan calls for a more attractive Loyola that will not shrink with the economy. This “perfect plan” is linked into budget set forth by him and his colleagues. It will embody an excellent undergraduate and graduate experience, and hopefully make us the top comprehensive catholic university. Another part of this plan is the Living Learning Program, which focuses on bridging social and educational experiences for the first year students. With help from his faculty and staff this will allow the first year students to become even more well-rounded individuals, in hope they will graduate with the appropriate skills to excel in our world. The third point in the new strategic plan focuses on strengthening and already strong faculty. Through ambitious hiring programs and careful planning coordination the hope is that more of the top scholars in their field will decide to be a part of the wonderful learning environment that is Loyola University. Also vital to Loyola’s new mission is the ever-expanding community engagement. Talk of improving neighborhoods surrounding the school will make for friendly living space for all. Enhancement of global studies will also better the students for the ever-changing world. The final point in Fr. Linnane’s address to the College is the improvement of our intercollegiate sports programs, which will provide a competitive and healthy environment for school pride and spirit. This improvement will also aid in bringing in new and better recruits and engage alumni in donations and support. These plans for Loyola’s future should continue to benefit our school in hopes to becoming one of the top universities in the U.S.
This plan that Fr. Linnane announced is one of huge change that will literally rename who we are as a University. However, our Jesuit ideals will always remain as the groundwork for any of the schools endeavors. This theme is directly paralleled to Jeffrey Harrison’s Fork where throughout all of the change in the speaker’s life the one constant is the fork that has always stuck with him. Obviously, very similar to how our school will always have the Jesuit ideals no matter what drastic changes the school makes.

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