In 2018, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) opened a new Playa Vista Campus. Serving as a creative center for graduate and professional education, the new satellite location aimed to support the highly acclaimed Graduate School of Film and Television and College of Business Administration’s Master of Science in Business Analytics.
Unfortunately, the pandemic hit soon afterward and temporarily shuttered the campus’ doors. Now it is back and better than ever—offering new events, new programs, and new educational opportunities to its students and the community.
“The Playa Vista Campus has given us a physical space to bring LMU students and faculty to the booming tech and creative hub that is Silicon Beach, and we are thrilled to be a part of the collaboration that is happening on and around our campuses,” says Thomas Poon, executive vice-president and Provost.
An exciting aspect of LMU’s Playa Vista Campus includes the outreach events which extend “beyond the bluff.” On Oct. 20, LMU hosted a private reception at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center featuring Misty Copeland. The program was entitled, “Igniting DEI: An Evening with Misty Copeland,” and attracted over 50 guests and furthered DEI initiatives and goals. At the event, participants not only heard Copeland’s inspiring story, but were able to mingle and share their best practices in an informal and relaxed setting.
“LMU is squarely located at the intersection of creativity, technological innovation, interdisciplinarity, and cultural diversity,” Poon says.
This successful event was hosted by Jody Skenderian, LMU’s new executive director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives, and Dr. Emelyn de la Pena, vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. One of the evening’s highlights included announcing the creation of the LMU DEI Consortium. This new initiative will be “an alliance for round table discussions, think tanks, best practice sharing, and thought partnering with companies,” says Skenderian.
LMU also encourages new partnerships with local businesses. This comprises the Silicon Beach Think Tank, which supports the business community’s involvement in discussing relevant topics. One such upcoming event will be on Dec. 1, featuring alumnus John Attanasio (94), co-founder of ToonStar. NFT Mania – “Hollywood 3.0: Can Web3 Disrupt Hollywood? ToonStar’s “The Gimmicks Revolutionizes Storytelling” is a panel discussion about the evolution and future of entertainment and technology. This event will be open to the public. To RSVP, visit lmu.edu/hollywood3.
“LMU is well positioned to be the higher education partner of choice for Silicon Beach companies who value DEI, innovation, adaptability, and collaboration,” says Skenderian. “We are partnering with companies and organizations who wish to join LMU in creating the world we want to live in.”
Academically, LMU’s Playa Vista Campus offers two highly-ranked graduate programs: the College of Business Administration’s Master of Science in Business Analytics, and the graduate programs at the School of Film and Television (SFTV). Ranked 8th in the nation, SFTV in a joint partnership with the Bellarmine College of the Liberal Arts, and the College of Communication and Fine Arts, recently launched the new Media Center for the Arts and a Just Society (MAJS). Here, students interested in producing original podcast content are delighted with the addition of a new podcast studio and booth.
On Dec. 7, LMU will offer a CBA Business Incubator Showcase. The event is from 7 to 9 p.m. and open to the public. It is sponsored by the College of Business Administration’s Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship. There will be display booths set up around the Playa Vista campus. They will feature a variety of start-up business concepts developed by students and recent graduates who will share their start-up idea through brief presentations. To rsvp for the incubator event, visit cba.lmu.edu/rsvp/busincubshowcase.
“LMU’s business incubator offers aspiring entrepreneurs the workspace and guidance needed to pursue their dreams in the real world,” says David Choi, director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship. “I am so proud of the students who, with the incubator’s help, have built innovative and promising businesses that are positioned for success in the marketplace.”
The campus hosts other events that are free and open to the community, such as the recent free screening and discussion of “Endangered,” a 2022 documentary film directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. This program was hosted by the CSJ Center for Reconciliation & Justice.
LMU is also dedicated to supporting conservational efforts by partnering with Playa Vista and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. This long-standing partnership, the Ballona Discovery Park was constructed. LMU contributed $700,000 towards financing the project and has three staff and faculty on the board each term. The park is an outdoor cultural and learning space that captures the inquisitiveness of both children and adults alike. Combining science and education, the park offers visitors walks through gardens, spying on local wildlife, and acts as a gateway to wetlands. It is open every day from dawn until dusk.
From world-class academics to supporting nature, to screenings and presentations, LMU’s Playa Vista campus is an educational and cultural center point for the entire community that offers something for everyone.
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