Surrounded by Jesuit tradition, friends, family, alumni and various religious dignitaries, David Burcham was inaugurated as Loyola Marymount University’s 15th president March 8.

Approximately 1,700 witnessed Burcham’s installation at Gersten Pavilion, which was preceded by a Mass led by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez at the Sacred Heart Chapel.

“Our time – LMU’s time – has arrived. Our region, and the world beyond, desperately needs supremely well-educated, ethical leaders with deep moral convictions rooted in faith,” said Burcham, the university’s first lay president, in his inaugural speech. “And in partnership with each of you, that is exactly what we will continue to do.”

An alumnus and former dean of Loyola Law School, Burcham will lead the university past the first decade of the new century as institutions of higher learning face increased numbers of students seeking access to college and the challenges of fundraising in an uncertain economic climate.

“I know the university in all of its facets and the people involved, and there’s not a period of ramping up and learning the issues that many presidents who come from the outside would have to do,” the new president told The Argonaut in an earlier interview.

Burcham was chosen by the university’s board of trustees to lead the university last year after Father Robert Lawton retired after more than a decade as president.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said he is impressed with Burcham.

“He’s a very sharp, decent and honest man,” Rosendahl, who represents Westchester and Playa del Rey, said. “He has a long history there and I’m delighted that the board of trustees chose him.”

Burcham said the approval of the university’s master plan earlier this month gave him momentum as the date of his inauguration drew closer.

“It’s a great feeling to have it behind us,” he said.

Prior to becoming the university’s president, Burcham was LMU’s senior vice president and provost.