President Lucas Lamadrid, PhD, has brought growth and fresh ideas to Marymount California University in his first year of leadership at the nonprofit Catholic university located in Rancho Palos Verdes. Lauded by the university’s board of trustees, the efforts of Marymount’s seventh president have borne fruit.
“From his first day at Marymount, on April 1, 2016, Dr. Lamadrid brought new strategies for student enrollment that immediately gained the attention of prospective students,” said Chairman of the Board of Trustees Burt Arnold. “He foresaw that an investment in campus facilities would prompt an enthusiastic response from both students and employees. And he helped to invent new academic programs that will benefit the university in its immediate future and in the longer term.”
One such program, introduced in spring 2017, is the Four-Year Scholars’ Pathway Track, which gives students the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in just four years. This track gives students a competitive edge in the job market and saves both students and families significant amounts money on tuition, room, and board.
Looking toward the future, conversations are underway for a new academic program in nursing, a partnership with Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, and a hospitality concentration in partnership with Terranea Resort.
Attracting students to Marymount requires ingenuity. Private universities across the U.S. vie for the attention of the high school junior and senior. Students select colleges based on a variety of factors, including academic programs, student life experiences, and a university’s geographic location. While Marymount stands out from the crowd for these attributes, Dr. Lamadrid brought to life a unique program in which a student may purchase a MINI Cooper as a freshman, and when the student graduates in four years, the university covers the fifth year of payments. This program is a partnership with BMW, which owns the MINI brand.
With a deep commitment to his faith, and understanding the value of a Catholic education, Dr. Lamadrid initiated a program with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in which college-bound students are given “automatic” admission to the university. In addition, he invited the Archbishop of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, José H. Gómez, to serve on the university’s board of trustees.
In his last role before joining Marymount as its seventh president, Lamadrid served as a senior executive managing the higher education division of a private company that specializes in the recruitment of international students. Prior to his entering the private sector, he served as vice president for enrollment and student affairs at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, and as vice president and chief student officer at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
With that breadth of experience in higher education, an impressive academic background, and a child of his own attending Stanford University, Dr. Lamadrid deeply understands what it means to be a student, an administrator, and a father of a college student. As a gesture of hospitality and genuine interest in families considering Marymount, Dr. Lamadrid meets with as many campus tour groups as possible. Many times each day, he excuses himself from meetings to shake hands and talk with prospective Marymount California University families.
Marymount California University, soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is located on the east side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula overlooking the Santa Monica Bay. The campus is known for its spectacular views and year-round pleasant weather. To allow students to enjoy the beauty of the campus environment, President Lamadrid requested that Adirondack chairs be placed beneath trees so that students can look out over the Pacific Ocean and watch migrating whales. He saw a need for lounge furniture for the school’s pool deck so that students could gather in the sun between classes. Campus classrooms needed modernization, so he negotiated for state-of-the-art furniture and learning-support technology, and had each room painted and carpeted.
The modernization will continue into the summer, with air-conditioning to be added to the residential townhomes and a saltwater swimming pool constructed for student recreation. The residential campus will add an outdoor BBQ area with a wood-burning pizza oven, a sand volleyball court, an enlarged fitness center, townhome interior improvements, and new lush landscaping.
Marymount California University was ranked in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report List of Best Colleges. It earned a spot in the top 20 of 65 institutions in the Regional Colleges West category. Although this is a first-time honor for the university, Dr. Lamadrid has his eye on future accolades for the school. His first priority is to create real-world educational opportunities for the university’s students. This means that all students will be prepared for engagement opportunities with the community and potential employers.
A student’s success is a blend of academic and co-curricular experiences. At Marymount, Dr. Lamadrid is ensuring that the university provides meaningful academic experiences that seamlessly bridge to employment or graduate school following graduation. He has fostered a student-life environment in which students learn about their own potential and about the world around them. Engagement with student organizations, athletics, field trips that explore Los Angeles, and community service are examples of the abundant transformative opportunities embraced by Marymount students.
“Dr. Lamadrid has planted the seeds for a very bright future,” said Chairman Arnold, who is a Marymount alumni. “He is appreciated for his leadership, his vision, and his unfailing belief in real-world education in the Catholic tradition.”