The Catholic Network of Volunteer Service has ranked Loyola Marymount University (LMU) sixth in the country at producing graduates who are committed to community service. The Catholic Network results were based on surveys from faith-based volunteer programs.

“I was really excited to see LMU on the list,” said Tom King, student programs coordinator in the Center for Service and Action at LMU. “It is the first time LMU has been featured, which shows that LMU is regarded as a strong place for student volunteers.”

One hundred universities, both private and public, were on the Catholic Network of Volunteer Service list, including Notre Dame, Boston College and Virginia Tech.

“The universities on this list have a good culture of service on their campuses,” said Katie Mulembe of the Catholic Network of Volunteer Service. “The schools demonstrate that post-graduation service is a real part of their students’ lives and that it is a viable option after graduation.”

While very few of the nearly 250 nonprofit organizations that are members of the Catholic Network are based on the West Coast, LMU was recognized for the contribution of its graduates, King noted.

“These agencies see that LMU students come with great experiences and an understanding of justice,” King said.

PLACE (Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education) Corps, a two-year teaching service program, is one of the nonprofit organizations that participated in the Catholic Network survey. Diana Murphy, PLACE Corps director, said she has been impressed with LMU volunteers.

“The LMU students have a heart for service and are interested in working with kids,” said Murphy. “They are evidence of living through faith.”

LMU graduate Nathalie Sanchez worked in 2007 at Good Shepherd Volunteers, which serves women and children affected by poverty and violence in New York City. Sanchez said she chose Good Shepherd Volunteers because of the organization’s focus on social justice, a commitment she said she learned to value while at LMU.

“Overall, the experience was very humbling,” said Sanchez. “It drastically changed my whole perspective on my personal life.

“The best part of the program was being able to foster relationships with the women and continue those relationships throughout the years.”

An LMU spokesperson said the number of students who work in service programs after graduation has grown in recent years. In 2006, 16 students went on to serve in full-time postgraduate programs and this year that number has risen to 58.

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