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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Remembers Donald Merrifield, Former President of LMU

March 9, 2010
Press Release

The funeral mass for Father Donald Merrifield, who served as president of Loyola Marymount University from 1969 to 1984, was held today. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), who represents Westchester, where the LMU campus is located, released the following statement:

"Donald Merrifield was instrumental in making Loyola Marymount University the great institution that it is today.  LMU is a center of learning for students in Los Angeles, a major employer in the district I represent, and considered among the best universities in the country.

Father Merrifield served as president of the school for 15 years, including overseeing the merger in 1973 of Loyola University and Marymount College into LMU, and under his leadership the school grew significantly.  Many of the buildings that are so familiar to us when we visit the LMU campus were constructed under his leadership.

I believe however that his greatest accomplishment was not changing the campus physically but rather changing the composition of the student body.  Having grown up in Inglewood, he knew the community, and he believed that the university had a responsibility to serve our increasingly diverse population.

President Merrifield was committed to providing educational opportunities for African American and Latino students.  He implemented recruiting efforts to attract more students of color to LMU and made it possible for more minority students to enroll by increasing financial aid, including creating scholarships.  He also helped to establish support services for minority students and to create a curriculum with relevant courses including African American and Chicano/Latino studies.  His success in making LMU a more diverse, more inclusive school has benefitted thousands of students and alumni.

While Donald Merrifield will certainly be missed by all friends of Loyola Marymount, he has left a lasting legacy for which we are grateful."