After nearly 20 years of planning and discussion, Marymount College’s Main Campus building infrastructure improvements have begun. A groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 16 celebrated what was initially envisioned by past Marymount president Dr. Thomas McFadden, who served from 1992 through 2006. On a quiet campus just days after graduation, a crowd gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony. The projects, slated for summer construction, include the updating of plumbing and electrical systems, as well as the addition of a parking lot for 120 cars. The college’s current athletic field will be relocated to make room for additional parking.
“The idea for all the development came not from the board, nor from the faculty or staff, but from our students,” said Dr. McFadden, who had flown in from Rochester, New York for the occasion. “They said, ‘Please build a place where we can study and where we can recreate and live.’ The board made a commitment to realize the students’ vision.”
McFadden acknowledged the efforts of others. “There was the belief of our board members and the neighbors who hosted meetings in their homes. If the neighbors had not come out to support the building program, or spoken on the school’s behalf at city council and planning commission meetings, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said. Dr. McFadden also added that Marymount’s current president, Dr. Michael Brophy, had expanded the building program and made it more attractive. “The leadership he’s brought to this day is something we should all applaud,” said Dr. McFadden.
The long and sometimes difficult road shared by the College and the city of Rancho Palos Verdes has itself been renovated. “There’s been a near miraculous event on the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council,” said Mayor Pro Tem Brian Campbell with a smile. “We approved a minor modification to Marymount’s modernization plan which allowed this groundbreaking to happen today. I believe that our community understands that a successful Marymount means a successful Rancho Palos Verdes and vice versa; finding the right balance between the two takes time and dedication and I’m committed to finding that proper balance.”
“Our vision is to match a strong academic program with top-notch facilities,” said Dr. Brophy. “It’s not the easiest thing to fundraise for electrical infrastructure and parking but we did it. We don’t have to wait any longer.”
Campus improvements have been funded largely by generous private gifts and foundation grants. In March, the Ahmanson Foundation provided a significant match toward a gift initiated by an anonymous donor.
“This is not a first step but a continuation of many varied steps,” said Dr. McFadden. “It’s an ongoing step that leads to a longstanding dream of Marymount College.”
About Marymount College
The Harbor and South Bay communities of Los Angeles, California have been home to Marymount College for more than 50 years. Today, Marymount College is a four-year liberal arts, Catholic College with locations in San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes. The college is devoted to sustaining the values of its founding order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, whose mission is to “serve others so that all may have life.” Central to fulfilling this mission is the continual improvement of the college so it may always provide relevant programs for students of all ages, faiths and economic backgrounds.
Marymount College’s Main Campus in Rancho Palos Verdes overlooks the Pacific Ocean, while the Waterfront Campus in San Pedro affords upper-division students opportunities for learning in the port community that offers students new avenues for study, internships and service. Encompassing several buildings on Sixth St. in historic San Pedro, the Waterfront Campus (established fall 2011) is one of many accomplishments that set this college on a path to unprecedented success.
Additional accomplishments include a recent increase in enrollment by more than 70 percent, with the college currently serving approximately 1,000 students. Many new programs have been added, such as, bachelors’ degrees in psychology, business and media studies and a liberal arts. Graduate degrees are in the planning stages with enrollment planned for 2013. Formerly offering club sports of lacrosse and soccer, the college has now joined the California Pacific Conference and competes in soccer, track and field, cross country and golf. More than $7 million has been invested in facility construction and renovation at the college’s residential sites, while groundbreaking has occurred for improvements to the Main Campus in Rancho Palos Verdes. In addition, Marymount College was recently recognized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as a Hispanic-serving institution with more than 25 percent of its enrollment composed of Hispanic students.