David W. Burcham, a former executive vice president and provost at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), has been appointed as the first lay president in the Westchester university’s 99-year history.

Burcham, a 1984 graduate of Loyola Law School who had been serving as LMU’s interim president, was unanimously elected by the LMU Board of Trustees Monday, Oct. 4 as the 15th president of the university after a nationwide search. He assumes his new position immediately.

“Dave Burcham is the best person to lead LMU. He has a long and distinguished career at the university, both as an educator and as leader, with a passion for our mission manifested in the tradition of our Jesuit and Marymount education,” board chairman R. Chad Dreier said. “His record of accomplishments speaks directly to LMU’s commitment to academic excellence.”

Burcham graduated first in his class from Loyola Law School and after seven years in public and private practice, he returned to the law school and teaching. In 2000 he was appointed senior vice president and dean of the law school and served in that capacity until 2008, when he was named LMU’s executive vice president and provost. In 2010, Burcham took over leadership of the university when former president Robert B. Lawton resigned for health reasons.

“We set a very high bar for what we wanted and expected in our next president, including academic excellence, executive leadership, fundraising experience and furtherance of our Jesuit, Marymount and Catholic traditions,” vice chair of the LMU Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee Kathleen Aikenhead said. “Dave Burcham already has proved himself.”

As interim president, Burcham oversaw the current $380 million capital campaign and the 20-year master plan for future growth. In that capacity, he reconfigured the university budget during the recent economic downturn to help ensure that academics remained fully funded, LMU officials noted.

At the same time, LMU moved up to No. 3 in the “Best Regional Universities West” category of the 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges.”

“LMU has a reputation for its pursuit of academic excellence and for the way its students, faculty and alumni live out the principles of a Jesuit and Marymount education,” said Burcham. “I am honored to have been chosen and join with the LMU Board of Trustees, the founding religious communities, faculty, staff, students and dedicated alumni as we begin together the next century of educational excellence at this great Catholic university.”

A native of Los Angeles, Burcham earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Occidental College in 1973, and a master of arts in education administration from Cal State Long Beach in 1978.