More than 75 guests attended the tenth anniversary of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Tuesday, April 24th.

The center, which was founded with a grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, “promotes research in the living urban laboratory that is Los Angeles in order to better understand urban America,” according to the organizationís Web site.

Guests included Robert B. Lawton, S.J., president of Loyola Marymount University; Kathleen L. McCarthy of the Leavey family and foundation and LMU trustee; Steven Soboroff, president of Playa Vista and chair of The Leavey Center advisory board; Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks; and Connie Rice, co-director of the Los Angles Gang Activity Reduction Strategy Project.

The Leavey Center is said to be the only organization in Southern California that has established an initiative to systematically study leadership in Los Angeles.

Fernando Guerra, Ph.D., the Leavey Center director and associate professor of political science and Chicana/o Studies, discussed the centerís achievements, as well as its goals and vision for its second decade.

Preliminary results from the centerís “LA Riots 15th Year Follow Up Survey” of Los Angeles residents and its ongoing “Leadership Initiative” survey were also discussed.

“I am proud to say that the center has become a respected source of information and analysis. We are the convener of community and government stakeholders and are constantly discussing critical issues facing Southern California and their potential solutions,” said Guerra, who also thanked various organizations and individuals that have contributed in some way to make the Leavey Center a success.

“As we head into a second decade, we will continue to come into our own. Our vision is to become the premier undergraduate research center in the nation focused on urban issues and promoting collective action to achieve social justice,” Guerra continued. “We plan to increase our collaborations, secure funding for the remaining nine sectors of the Leadership Initiative, invest in our research infrastructure, increase our educational programming and outreach activities and expand our research collection.

“We also will engage in a strategic planning process to steward these goals and meet Loyola Marymount Universityís objectives and mission.”

The center is also responsible for developing and moderating an annual lecture series that focuses on Los Angeles urban issues and brings together government and community leaders, students, faculty and the community at large to discuss the state of the city.

Since 2002, over 150 government and community leaders, 20 LMU classes and 600 students have been involved.

Information about The Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, www.lmu.edu/csla/.

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