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Loyola President Brian F. Linnane, S.J., commends strategic plan progress, stresses need to strengthen financial aid in State of the University Address

| By Nick Alexopulos

In his annual State of the University Address on Oct. 23, Loyola University Maryland President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., commended the continuous efforts of the Loyola community to achieve goals outlined in the University’s strategic plan despite the ongoing challenges of trying economic times.

“We did not compromise on our vision or our goals. And of that, I am immensely proud—of our students, of our faculty, of our administrators and staff—and of the alumni, parents, and other friends who helped make Loyola’s continued advancement possible,” Fr. Linnane said during his address in the Alumni Memorial Chapel.

Adopted in 2008, Loyola’s strategic plan, Grounded in Tradition, Educating for the Future, is meant to shape the University for years to come, with an overall goal of making Loyola the nation’s leading Catholic, comprehensive university. While the global financial downturn has pushed the strategic plan’s end date from 2013 to 2015, Fr. Linnane cited the substantial progress that has already been made in the plan’s core initiatives as a testament to Loyola’s commitment to quality, growth, and innovation.

Those initiatives extend in and out of the classroom:

  • Loyola is creating interdisciplinary living-learning communities for all first-year students as part of the Messina program that will begin to roll out in fall 2013.
  • Faculty in the University’s natural sciences programs have been awarded more than $500,000 in grants and awards this year alone, and Loyola has partnered with England’s Newcastle University to open a study abroad center on Newcastle’s campus with a focus on the sciences.
  • The Loyola Clinical Centers recently received $50,000 to support its growing brain injury and brain disorders rehabilitation services.
  • A farmer’s market pilot program organized by Loyola’s York Road Initiative in 2011 expanded to 10 days over 10 weeks this summer.

Fr. Linnane concluded the list of strategic plan accomplishments with kudos for Loyola athletics. Fresh off unforgettable, record-breaking seasons for the MAAC champion men’s basketball team and NCAA champion men’s lacrosse team, Loyola announced earlier this summer its move to the prestigious Patriot League beginning with the 2013-14 year.

Fr. Linnane stressed, however, that there is still much work to do.

“I am both proud of all we have achieved so far and confident that we have the commitment and talent in place to ultimately realize [our goals],” said Fr. Linnane. “But I also recognize the process has not been easy, and is unlikely to become any less demanding in the years to come.”

Much of that demanding work, noted Fr. Linnane, will be devoted to increasing the proportion of the high achieving applicants admitted to Loyola who choose to enroll, addressing issues of affordability, cost, and value. A crucial step will be an effort to increase Loyola’s financial aid budget to provide more attractive need-based and academic scholarship awards.

“Our ability to remain a university of choice for our nation’s young men and women is the most important ingredient in our future strength,” Fr. Linnane said.

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