BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Loyola University Maryland on Wednesday announced the school’s board of trustees unanimously selected senior vice president Terrence M. Sawyer to become the 25th president, replacing Rev. Brian F. Linnane, who announced his retirement in February.

A resident of Towson, Sawyer is the first layperson to lead the university, with the previous 24 presidents all being ordained Jesuit priests, the school said.

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He assumes the office on Jan. 1, 2022.

“Loyola is blessed to have an incredibly talented and dedicated community. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues across the University in meeting the moment and leading Loyola in this next chapter of its long and illustrious history,” Sawyer said. “The extraordinary Jesuit, Catholic liberal arts education Loyola delivers to its students is unparalleled. In this moment, we can lean into the richness of our values and tradition, while enhancing Loyola in innovative ways for the future. Loyola’s future is bright, and I feel honored to be a part of it.”

Located near Baltimore’s Guilford and Homeland neighborhoods, Loyola University Maryland has 3,813 undergraduate students and offers 43 majors, according to The College Board.

Sawyer first joined Loyola in 1998 as special assistant to the president for government and community relations.

After a stint as vice president for administration, he was named vice president for advancement in 2015, and two years later was promoted to his current role.

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The university said Sawyer led Loyola’s response to the pandemic and developed plans to safely reopen the campus.

Loyola also credits Sawyer with raising $100 million in the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign, growing the university’s endowment and allowing for more scholarship offers. He also helped raise funds for capital projects, such as the recently opened Miguel B. Fernandez Family Center for Innovation and Collaborative Learning, the university said.

“Terry values Jesuit, liberal arts education, knows Loyola’s strengths and challenges, and has a compelling, foundational vision for defining and shaping Loyola in the years ahead,” said James Forbes, chair of Loyola’s Board of Trustees. “He’s a critical thinker with a sound business sense and an appreciation for intellectual inquiry. He’s also a relationship builder who is ready to help Loyola achieve still greater success with a deep commitment to its Jesuit identity, academic success, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Originally from New Jersey, Sawyer went to undergrad at the University of Maryland, College Park and earned his law degree at Widener University. He’s also a graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Educational Management program and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Ignatian Colleagues Program.

Prior to Loyola, Sawyer was a lawyer for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

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He is still a member of the Maryland State Bar, the university said.

CBS Baltimore Staff