Student Success

Group photo of ACE students

As a strategic initiative of the Office of Intercultural Affairs, the Academic Community of Excellence (ACE) promotes inclusive excellence, educational access and success for historically underrepresented students. The program has proven to be an effective pipeline to masters and doctoral programs. By preparing students for postgraduate studies, ACE is contributing to a national movement to expand educational opportunities and equity for underrepresented students.

Visit the Academic Community of Excellence to learn more or get involved.

The Academic Community of Excellence Celebrates 15 Years

ACE scholar award recipients
Outstanding Academic Achievement Awardees: Phaedra Johnson, Malcolm Kam, Leonardo Garcia Cerecedo, Laina Washington, Isabella Powers, and Marshall Sauceda Rising Scholar Award recipient Eduardo Encina

The Academic Community of Excellence began its first year at LMU in fall 2004. The program was initially funded by the James Irvine Foundation to support LMU’s progressive Linking the Intercultural Campus diversity initiative. This initiative included the creation of the ACE program, which was designed to improve underrepresented student retention, graduation, and preparation for graduate and professional programs. The mission of the initiative emanated from the Jesuit tradition of creating men and women for others, along with providing support for historically underserved populations.

By 2010, the ACE program was institutionalized and operated as a strategic initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Intercultural Affairs. Today, its goal includes preparing underrepresented scholars to access and thrive in master’s and doctoral programs.

Since ACE’s establishment, ACE scholars and alumni have excelled educationally. Ninety-nine percent of students who have participated in ACE have graduated from LMU. Fifty-six percent of alumni have enrolled in or completed programs at over 45 master’s and doctoral-granting institutions. Also, students have secured prestigious awards and opportunities such as the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, membership in Phi Beta Kappa, California Senate Fellows Program, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, Gilman Scholarship, Teach For America, LMU Ignatian Award, and Presidential Citation.

In terms of its broad impact, ACE has helped to elevate the importance and attainability of a postgraduate degree for diverse populations. ACE has educated, equipped, and empowered students along the path to graduate studies and career success. Moreover, being guided by the principles of interculturalism and inclusive excellence, ACE is contributing to a national movement to increase access and diversity in graduate and professional education.

Ace Scholars Recognition Banquet

In Spring 2019, ACE held its annual scholars recognition banquet, which recognized students' academic and research achievements, along with the program's graduating seniors. Jennifer Abe, interim special assistant to the president for intercultural affairs, spoke about the history of ACE and closed with inspirational words. Also, attendees heard from two alumni of the inaugural 2004 cohort, a special tribute to Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, retiring vice president for intercultural affairs, and an inspirational speech from alum Charnise Taylor, who shared her story of persistence and her passion for service. Recipients of the outstanding academic achievement awards and the Marshall Sauceda Rising Scholar Award were also recognized, and ACE seniors received their commencement medallions.