It’s a homecoming of sorts for Linda McMurdock, Mount Saint Mary’s new vice president of student affairs.
After all, the Mount’s mission and tradition is a belief she’s embraced her entire professional life.
“What has really struck me since I’ve been here is the notion of radical hospitality, the community as a whole permeates the values it puts forward,” McMurdock said. “Every conversation has been led by this and it’s just wonderful.”
McMurdock said she is committed to the education of the whole person and wants to offer student programs that promote intellectual curiosity, a healthy lifestyle, global fluency and a commitment to service and action.
A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology, McMurdock comes to the Mount from Marymount University in Virginia, where she served as vice president of student affairs for five years.
She has also inspired change at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles. As dean of students and vice president for student affairs at LMU, McMurdock launched initiatives for LGBT students, first-generation Latino scholars and co-led the creation of a student memorial on campus.
“One thing I am very laser focused on right now is making sure we have an engaged and enlivened student experience, to prepare them for life after undergrad and graduate degrees here at the Mount,” she said. “Let’s spark an excitement for lifelong learning and make sure our students thrive.”
She will also be guiding the Mount’s Wellness Movement, which adds a dynamic layer to her passion for educating the whole person, emboldening students to transform their time at the Mount.
“The idea of inclusion and empowerment in the mission of the university is very compelling to me, especially the element of caring for your neighbor without distinction,” McMurdock said. “A primary initiative would be exploring holistic approaches to every aspect of health: mental, spiritual and physical. I’ve always embraced the notion of holistic development, interdisciplinary approaches to innovative solutions.”
Lane Bove, senior vice president for student affairs at Loyola Marymount University, said McMurdock has all the attributes of a successful administrator: intrinsic motivation, good interpersonal skills, knowledge of and competence in the field and a good sense of humor.
“Her greatest strength is her empathy for and understanding of students,” Bove said. “She understands that the ultimate goal in students affairs work is to be responsive to the needs of students and sometimes that requires saying no. Our goal in student affairs work is to prepare and not pamper our students while always listening to them.”
McMurdock said success in her new dual role means “delivering a transformational student experience, (helping them gain) a better understanding of self, of others and their gifts to the community.
“I’m very happy to be here,” she added. “The welcoming and kindness that permeates this place is really heartwarming and inspiring. It’s a great place to be.”