Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M.

Message from the President 

Oct. 6, 2009

Dear LMU Community: 

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you of the passing of our Alumni Chaplain, Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M. She died Tuesday night after her courageous battle with cancer. 

Few people are so identified with a place as Sister Peg is with Loyola Marymount University. She was the heart of LMU – a vibrant link to our proud Marymount past and an extraordinary member of our community. Sister Peg touched thousands of lives and made everyone feel accepted and loved. I, for one, will never forget her smile. 

We named our Campus Ministry Center after Sister Peg, but that was simply putting a name on what we all knew already. She embraced our whole campus and everyone in it. 

Margaret Mary “Peg” Dolan, was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, after her parents came to the United States from Ireland. After graduating from high school in 1952, she entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, an international community of women religious who serve in 15 countries. Sister Peg was a devoted member of her order. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Marymount College, her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University, and her master’s degree in applied spirituality from the University of San Francisco. 

Before coming to LMU, Sister Peg was a teacher and principal at Marymount High School in Santa Barbara. She arrived here in 1973 to complete her degree. In 1974, she became a campus minister. For more than 30 years, Sister Peg served the LMU community in various capacities, including campus minister, director of campus ministry, director of Ignatian retreats, moderator of Gryphon Circle and, most recently, alumni chaplain. Sister Peg founded the Alumni for Others community service program in 1998, which continues to inspire and call our alumni to live the LMU mission by helping those in need.

Recognized by the LMU community and beyond for her humanitarian efforts, Sister Peg has been the recipient of numerous distinctions. In 1994, she was initiated into Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society. In 1997, she received LMU’s Barbara Bonney Staff Award as an outstanding staff member. Catholic Charities of Los Angeles named Sister Peg “Honoree of the Year” in 2001 for her efforts to link parishes, schools, and social services and for her tireless dedication on behalf of the poor. The following year she was named “Woman of the Year” by the Santa Monica Westside YWCA for her leadership and service to those in need. In 2006, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a volunteer program for retired persons, awarded Sister Peg the first “Madonna Della Strada Award,” which honors an individual whose life reflects the Ignatian values of direct service to the poor and working and educating for a more just society. Sister Peg was the LMU commencement speaker in 2008, when she told our graduates, “Dream big, big enough to fulfill God’s dream for you.” She also received an honorary doctoral degree in humane letters.

Alumni, friends and the community are invited to the closed-casket visitation beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, at Sacred Heart Chapel on the Loyola Marymount campus. There will be a prayer vigil service Friday at 7 p.m., also at Sacred Heart. On  Saturday, Oct. 17, Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at Sacred Heart at 10 a.m., and will be followed by a luncheon in Sculpture Garden. Burial will be private at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the  Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, to Loyola Marymount University for the RSHM Gailhac Pastoral Leadership Scholarship, or to the Sister Peg Dolan RSHM Campus Ministry Center. 

“That all may have life” was the motto of her order.

She will always be part of our life and a huge part of our legacy.

We have been fortunate to know a saint.

An online memory book has been created for guests to share their memories of Sister Peg here 


Robert B. Lawton, S.J.