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LMU Mourns Passing of `Absolute Treasure'

June 9, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (June 9) - His presence was memorable. His legacy etched in stone. His impact on those he taught, counseled, coached and befriended is far reaching. Rev. Thomas P. Higgins, S.J., member of the Loyola Marymount University family since 1970, touched countless lives in his more than 37 year of service at LMU. He died on Friday at the age of 75 due to a stroke.

Services for Higgins have been scheduled for Friday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. More information on services will be released on Monday through www.LMU.edu.

Higgins came to LMU to teach Philosophy and soon adopted the coaching role. He was the head coach of the Lions' golf team for 32 years before stepping down to give the reigns of the program to one of his pupils, current Head Coach Alex Galvan ('82).

"I wouldn't have gone to college if it wasn't for Father (Higgins)," said Galvan. "I shutter to think where I would be if I hadn't gone to college and Father was not a part of my life. He was an absolute treasure."

In 31 seasons under Higgins, the golf team finished in the top half of the WCC Championships multiple occasions and in 1979 the team earned a 16-1 record in dual matches.

"He held the program together during his time on a tiny budget, essentially volunteering his time and he was extremely proud of all who played for him," said LMU Athletics Director Dr. William Husak. "His classes in family and marriage were the first to fill every year and he was devoted to his students."

In the fall of 2005, a new on campus practice facility for the LMU golf team was named in honor of the founder of LMU golf, the state-of-the-art Thomas Higgins Short Game Center. The facility, located within the LMU Athletics' complex behind Gersten Pavilion, is marked with a stone etched with Higgins' name.

The same season of the facilities' dedication, Higgins was a big part of the Lions run to the school's first-ever WCC Championship, sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional and appearance in the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship.

"I was so glad that we won the conference championship when we did. Father is the reason we achieved that goal and went to the NCAA Championships. He got his ring," said a tearful Galvan. "He was happiest with his kids and players. He was a true treasure to this University."

A native of California, Father Higgins was born on Jan. 5, 1932, in Santa Monica. He graduated from Loyola High School and went on to earn degrees from Gonzaga, Regis and Fordham Universities. On Aug. 14, 1952, he entered the seminary and was ordained in 1964.

"There are so many found memories because of Father. I have friendships with so many people because of him. He was truly wonderful," said Galvan. "I will never forget the stand that he would set up outside, like the Doctor is In stand in Charlie Brown. And he loved to sing. I made a deal with him that if we held a fundraiser, I would sing only if he would."

Higgins continued to teach theology, work in the department of campus ministry and served as chaplain to resident students throughout the remaining days of his life.

- GO LIONS -