The Maroon

Opinion: This is where I think the campus stands

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Opinion: This is where I think the campus stands

Tania Tetlow takes the podium at her presidential inauguration. Photo credit: Angelo Imbraguglio

Tania Tetlow takes the podium at her presidential inauguration. Photo credit: Angelo Imbraguglio

Tania Tetlow takes the podium at her presidential inauguration. Photo credit: Angelo Imbraguglio

Tania Tetlow takes the podium at her presidential inauguration. Photo credit: Angelo Imbraguglio

Tania Tetlow

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[by President Tetlow]

The inauguration was quite a moment for all of us at Loyola. A moment to stop and remember our history, our values and who we are. A moment to dream big about what Jesuit mission will mean in a fast-changing world.

It was a humbling experience for me, as well, to feel as though every part of my unusual childhood – raised by a former Jesuit priest and a theologian mother – had prepared me for this role. I come to work every day excited to be with a community that already feels like family, fueled by the energy of our students. And I am becoming more and more ambitious for what we can achieve together.

The strength of this fierce community has been tested at many times in our history, through fires and floods and two world wars. And as many of you know, these last few years have been hard ones. Because of an unexpected downturn in the incoming class in 2013, one that lasted several years before it was corrected, Loyola has dealt with painful budget deficits and cutbacks. The University worked hard to prevent those cuts from affecting students’ education and experience – investing in student success in a way that resulted in a remarkable increase in retention – but I have no doubt that students have noticed and felt our struggles.

Like every other obstacle in its way, Loyola has overcome this one. By restoring admissions success, working ever harder and becoming both more entrepreneurial and frugal, Loyola balanced the budget. It has been a remarkable accomplishment, one that I hope will inspire our students.

Sometimes when you make it through a difficult time, however, there is still a brief period of up and down before you catch the tailwind you need to truly take off. That is where we are. I am incredibly optimistic about Loyola’s future, but we may still have a few more rough winds ahead.

On Dec. 11, we’ll find out whether our accrediting agency feels as though it has enough evidence of our turnaround, or whether it wants to put us on financial probation to make sure we live within our balanced budget this year. We know that we will live within that balanced budget, so any probation would be brief.

None of this will have impact on our status as fully accredited. None of this is commentary on our academic excellence. We passed all 96 academic standards during our reaccreditation process. You know more than anyone the incredible quality of our teaching and the passion of our faculty to do right by every single student.

This is not a financial struggle for us – we’ve resolved that already – it is a communication struggle. We will need your help in spreading the truth, in conquering cynicism, in avoiding doubt. We all know the special magic of this place. We need to make sure the world does too.

I hope on Dec. 11, we will hear that we worried about this last hurdle for nothing and celebrate together. But regardless, I know Loyola will be more than okay.

In a world where students flock to universities full of creativity and innovation, where they crave diverse communities that teach students how to make the world a better place, there are no limits to what Loyola New Orleans can achieve.

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Opinion: This is where I think the campus stands