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Rich Department and Campus Life

We believe in educating the whole person: In addition to rigorous academic studies, you will find a bounty of cultural and extra-curricular experiences in which to participate. We encourage you to immerse yourself in department and campus life at Loyola by taking advantage of the many opportunities:

The Leo A. Ford, Sr. Endowed Scholarship in Catholic Studies

The Leo A. Ford, Sr. Endowed Scholarhip in Catholic Studies was established by Dr. and Mrs. Chuck Tomich in February 2013:

Leo A. Ford, Sr. was born in New Orleans in 1904, and, as a youngster, raised and sold pigeons. He later became a dairy farmer, like his father. Though he had but a few years of grade school, through hard work he was able to buy some land and his own dairy cows. His dairy farm was situated in Gentilly near Elysian Fields Avenue. His wife, Verna (née Edgecombe), and their five children lived on the farm and learned to clean stalls and milk cows. Leo was a generous man, often providing milk to families even when they could not pay. Ultimately, New Orleans' city limits expanded toward Lake Pontchartrain, and Leo had to sell his cows and farm; he continued to deliver milk for Azalea Dairy until the day he died at the age of 56.

It is in Mr. Ford's memory that one of his daughters, Jacquelyn Ford Tomich, and her husband, Charles E. Tomich, M. D., established this endowed scholarship. Both are graduates of Loyola University New Orleans.

The purpose of the scholarship is to promote excellence in undergraduate studies by offering assistance to talented and deserving students studying Catholic theology. The scholarship will be awarded to a New Orleans native in good academic standing with financial need. The student must be majoring in Christianity with a focus on Catholic theology, and working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (a four-year program).

Department Awards

Senior year awards are given which can include recognition for the highest department GPA, the best undergraduate essay in Religious Studies, and other achievements.


The department holds an annual meet-and-greet lunch with faculty, majors, and minors.

Yamauchi Lectures in Religion

The Yamauchi Lectures in Religion series was begun in 1985 in memory of Professor H. James Yamauchi, S.J., a celebrated former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies who taught at Loyola University New Orleans from 1956 to 1966. Father Yamauchi was known and loved for his enthusiastic knowledge of religion and his passionate communication of same to the New Orleans community. This lecture series sought to perpetuate his work by bringing the results of religious scholarship to a wider audience. Although they no longer take place, you can Learn more about the Yamauchi Lectures in Religion »

Jewish Studies Lecture Series

The Loyola University New Orleans Jewish Studies Lecture Series brings noted authors, historians, and religious and cultural experts to share their experience with the university and the large Jewish community in the Greater New Orleans area. Learn more about the Jewish Studies Lecture Series »

Special Events

The department produces events each year to encourage discussion with peers, faculty in other departments, and with the participants themselves -- it's a great way to broaden an already comprehensive experience. For example, we have frequent visits from Buddhist monks: In Fall 2013, a group of monks constructed a sand mandala over three days and students were able to closely observe their work, as well as participate in a procession when it was finished. Other recent events have included academic film premieres, a symposium on religion and the environment, and a visit from the founder of INFORM (an educational charity which provides objective information about new religious movements.) Our invited lecturers frequently find their way into the classroom as special guests. 

Study Abroad

Loyola University New Orleans celebrates diversity and life in a global context. The Department of Religious Studies especially champions the trips developed by our faculty members: While getting credit for 2 courses, students can visit Italy (with a focus on Rome, plus visits to Tivoli, Sorrento, Capri, Florence, Assissi, and Pompeii) or India (with a focus on Dharamsala plus visits to Haridwar & Rishikesh on the Ganges River, Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, Amritsar, the Taj Mahal, and Delhi.) Follow this link to go to the Center for International Education’s Study Abroad pages.

Theta Alpha Kappa

Theta Alpha Kappa is a national honors society for undergraduate majors and first year graduate students in Religious Studies. Contact Dr. Adil Khan for more information or to become a member: Email, or call (504) 865-3679.

Commonweal Magazine

For those interested in Christian literature, Commonweal Magazine (an independent, lay, Catholic journal of opinion) offers free school-year subscriptions to our majors andd minors.

See a preview at  

To get a subscription, fill out this form:

Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

Free online access to the cutting edge journal, "Nova Religio - The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions" which is co-edited by our own Dr. Catherine Wessinger. See a preview at