Loyola's rich history dates back to 1540, when Saint Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, whose members are called Jesuits. From the beginning, Jesuits have held that scholarly excellence plays an integral role in helping men and women achieve moral excellence. For more than 450 years, excellence in education has been an essential focus of the Jesuits. It was with this focus that the Jesuits first arrived among the earliest settlers in New Orleans and Louisiana, eventually establishing what would become Loyola University and continuing the Jesuit tradition of creating centers of education.
The Jesuit educational network is one of the largest systems in American higher education, with more than 200,000 students currently enrolled in the 28 U.S. Jesuit universities. Worldwide, Jesuit universities and colleges have graduated more than 1,000,000 students.
Jesuit education is a call to human excellence, to the fullest possible development of all human qualities. This implies a rigor and academic excellence that challenges the student to develop all of his or her talents to the fullest. It is a call to critical thinking and disciplined studies, a call to develop the whole person, head and heart, intellect and feelings.
The Jesuit vision of education implies further that students learn how to be critical, examine attitudes, challenge assumptions, and analyze motives. All of this is important if they are to be able to make decisions in freedom, the freedom that allows one to make love-filled and faith-filled decisions.
In front of Loyola University New Orleans' J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, there is a walkway, a joint gift of the classes of 2002 and 2003, which reminds all who walk campus of the Jesuit ideals of: