I’m Paul Pastorek, and I’ve been recently named the chief operating officer for the university. That means I’m responsible for the financial and academic wherewithal of our students and our community.
A Vested Interest in Loyola
Loyola means a lot to me. I graduated from Loyola in finance and then went on to get a law degree. But it means a lot more to me because my dad did the same thing, and all three of my children have graduated from Loyola. So I have a vested interest in the university.
Leading The Efforts
I have actually been exceedingly involved in the financial well-being of the university for the last five years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Particularly, in the last 12 months, I’ve been leading the efforts on financial stability. I come with a complete understanding of what our academic and financial situation is, what our plans are to address our challenges, and with the knowledge that we’ve been very successful so far, and now I’m looking to finish the task.
Job One: Operating Surplus by July 2019
My job one is to balance the budget. We’re well on our way to doing that. We’ve already made significant progress – over $11 million in positive growth. We’ve increased our enrollment significantly. We’re increasing retention in our schools and keeping our students on a path to graduation. We have a terrific team of people who are working on this, and I’m absolutely confident that we’re going to be successful and that by July 31, 2019 – that’s my target date – we’ll be at a positive operating surplus.
Loyola is Fully Accredited
Loyola University New Orleans is not at all at risk of losing its accreditation. We are presently fully accredited with our accrediting agency – that is SACS. We are reporting to them our financial status. We regularly do that, and we are working very closely with our accrediting agency to showcase to them our success, and we’re confident that we’re going to be in business for a long time to come.
Project Magis: A Growth Plan
Project Magis is a growth plan for the university. It’s a way we can assure the financial stability of the university for many years to come. We have a bottom-up plan developed by our faculty and staff for growth and success. Project Magis is well under way. We’ve already achieved over $11 million in financial success. It has very specific, very structured strategies and plans for success, ones that have business plans that have been fully vetted. All these strategies are designed to get us to a surplus budget.
Up to The Task
I’ve had a little experience in getting financial situations well in hand. I’ve been very successful at this in the past, and after reviewing the entire situation, I’m very confident that we’re going to be successful in achieving that goal. Our faculty and staff are very engaged in all of the solution sets for growing the university going forward. In a situation where you’re trying to make sure you can be successful, you make course corrections along the way. What doesn’t work, we change. What works, we expand on. So we’ve been pretty good at identifying intermittent challenges along the way and making course corrections and moving positively. You have to be adaptive, and you have to change, and we’re doing that, and we’re doing it well. And people are up to the task.
We’re very excited that we’re getting close to making a final decision on a new president. We’re not an ordinary university; we’re a Jesuit university. So that’ll be a special person that we selected because that’ll be our first lay president. We’re looking for a new president who will bring us forward as a Jesuit university and the Jesuit values of social justice and bringing together mankind in a closer and deeper way.
Our Future is Bright
The most important things I’d like to communicate to people who are interested in Loyola and its future are first and foremost we are continuing our growth to greatness. Secondly, we have a very large endowment, and that endowment will allow us to sustain any challenges financially that we may face in the future. Third, we’re going to be transparent about all of our academic and financial successes and challenges. And fourth, we have been here as a university for more than 100 years, and we plan to be here for 100 years more.