Former Loyola President the Rev. Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J., died Thursday at 95, officials said.
Baumhart — for which the residence hall on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus is named — died at the Colombiere Conference & Retreat Center in Clarkston, Michigan, according to an email to the Loyola community from university President Jo Ann Rooney.
The school’s longest-serving president, Baumhart served as the 21st president of the university from 1970 to 1993, according to an obituary from the Midwest Society of Jesuits.
Baumhart was also a professor and dean in Loyola’s business school and focused a significant amount of his work on business ethics, Rooney said.
“Baumhart was influential in opening the doors to students, academic and administrative leaders, and trustees,” Rooney wrote in the email.
He was born and raised in Chicago and studied at DePaul University, Northwestern University, Harvard University, Loyola University and West Baden College, according to the obituary.
Baumhart entered the Jesuit priesthood in 1946 after enlisting in the United States Navy and serving for a year, the obituary said. He was ordained as a priest in 1957 at West Baden College and said his final vows at Loyola in 1969, according to the obituary.
“Father Baumhart had a deep commitment to the city and Loyola’s mission of educating future generations of ethical leaders,” Rooney wrote.
As the Vice President of Loyola University Medical Center, Baumhart played a significant role in the opening of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, according to the obituary.
During his time as president of the university, Flanner Hall, Maguire Hall, Halas Sports Center and the Crown Center were constructed and he oversaw the merging of Mundelein College and Loyola in 1991, according to the obituary.
“Ray was always a gentleman,” the obituary read. “He graciously greeted and conversed with those he encountered. He had a big smile and an infectious laugh … He was greatly admired and respected by colleagues and counterparts alike for his insights, strategic planning, and gentle but direct capacity for making decisions, large and small.”
In the last years of his life, Baumhart was sent to Colombiere Center to pray for the Jesuits and the church and care for his health, the obituary said.
He is survived by two sisters, fifteen nieces and nephews, many great nieces and nephews and countless cousins, the obituary said.
A memorial Mass will be held on Thursday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m. in Madonna della Strada on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.