David Burcham stood before the altar in Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University. The midday sun beamed through the stained-glass windows and a crucifix loomed over his shoulder as the university president offered a stirring defense of the school's Roman Catholic legacy.
The Jesuit mission, he said, "with its strong tradition of truth-seeking, is more relevant and important than ever because our world is in danger of drowning in disinformation."
He went on: "Jesuit and Marymount traditions of intellectual analysis, moral reflection and civic action are an antidote to superficiality. We train young people to think deeply about the critical issues as they cultivate wisdom, accountability and fair-mindedness."
Those who came before Burcham had been men of the cloth — Jesuit priests who would often say Mass from the place where he now stood. But on this day, rather than wear the cloak and collar of his predecessors, Burcham stood before the packed chapel in a suit and tie.