Tetlow, who joined Loyola in mid-August, is the first woman and layperson to lead the Jesuit, Catholic university since its founding in 1912. She is the fourth woman president, as well as the youngest woman president, to lead one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S.
“Her commitment to public service and academic advocacy embodies the true spirit of this university,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, whose public remarks highlighted the nature and calling of “a first,” especially a “first woman.”
“I know that she will uphold the commitment to ‘educating the whole person’ and again embracing that Jesuit education, of ensuring that people truly do embrace not only their calling, but all of their human qualities. That’s important.”
Tetlow was inaugurated in Holy Name of Jesus Church at Loyola. Delegates from the 28 Jesuit universities and colleges around the U.S., as well as other universities were on hand to join the campus academic procession.
Speakers included New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell; Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts, J.D.; retired Xavier University Louisiana President Norman Francis, J.D. ’55, H ’82; and journalist Cokie Roberts, H ’93. Archbishop of New Orleans the Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond offered the benediction. Music was provided by the university’s esteemed College of Music and Fine Arts.
Father Michael Sheeran, SJ, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, also attended and presented President Tetlow with a medallion of St. Ignatius Loyola inscribed with the names of her predecessors and blessed by Pope Francis.
Faculty Senate President Jonathan Peterson, Staff Senate President Kathy Gros and Student Government Association President Sierra Ambrose all gave speeches of warm welcome.
In her Inaugural speech, Tetlow honored family, friends, faculty, staff, students and alumni of the university, as well her mentor, the late U.S. Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, the first female member of Congress from Louisiana.
She promised Archbishop Aymond and the Society of Jesus to partner with them in ensuring the mission of the Jesuit and Catholic university.
President Tetlow thanked faculty and staff for the hard work and creativity they have employed over recent years to restore the university budget, introduce new programs, and deliver an outstanding student experience.
“Our own Jesuit education meant knowing that the talent God gave us didn’t make us better than anybody else, but it came with responsibilities. We had to work hard, greedily gobble up knowledge, hone our skills, and make the world a better place,” said Tetlow, referring to her own upbringing and the many Jesuits and Loyola alumni in her family.
“I am finally home. And what a home it is. For more than a hundred years, Loyola has made all the difference for so many people in this room. It has provided the kind of opportunity that brought my family from coal mining to university president in two generations. It invests in our talent and makes us flourish.”
A reception was held immediately on campus and was followed by the university’s Inaugural 1912 Society Dinner at the Audubon Tea Room.
This story was originally published by Loyola University New Orleans. Photos by Kyle Encar, Loyola University New Orleans.