Update 2/19 11:04 a.m.: This article has been updated. It originally said Rector's memorial service would be held at 2:00 p.m. when it will actually be held at 1:00 p.m. The article has been updated with the correct information.
“She was a force in our community,” said Patrick Furlong, longtime colleague and friend of Pam Rector, director of the Center for Service and Action (CSA), who passed away on Feb. 15. Rector was a deeply involved and gracious member of our community, whose influence extends beyond her work at CSA.
“She had this incredible reach and influence on so many of us and mentored us, myself included,” said Furlong. As the associate director for CSA and an LMU alumnus, he was able to witness Rector’s impact firsthand. According to Furlong, Rector’s deep care for people, both within and outside the community, will be what is missed most about her.
“And that’s what hurts the most. People won’t get to see that in its full effect. We thought she was going to get healthy and we’d get to have that again. Not having that feels like a loss,” said Furlong.
In 2018, Anthony Garrison-Engbrecht, former colleague of Rector’s, learned that his friend and mentor was in need of a kidney transplant. He had been made aware of the situation through a post made by Rector’s daughter, Grace.
“I remember Pam’s daughter as a kid walking around in her Girl Scout uniform selling cookies in her wagon. So when Grace posted ... that [Rector] needed a kidney … I called Grace and said I’m happy to get tested and find out if we’re a match.”
On Jan. 21, Garrison-Engbrecht donated his kidney. According to him, it was the least he could do for the woman who did so much. “For me it was just giving an organ, she gave her life to this.” Regardless of the outcome, Garrison-Engbrecht said he would do it again.
Rector served this campus for 22 years, during which she founded CSA — an implementation into our community that revolutionized “how LMU shares our mission with the world and ensures that our students become for and with others,” according to President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. in the message from the president.
Rector’s service and impact have been recognized through multiple awards and honors including the Madonna Della Strada Award from the Los Angeles Regional Council of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and the Barbara Bonney Staff Award for professional excellence.
The accolades are a testament to Rector's dedication to do whatever needed to be done.
“She was always a woman with a plan who knew how to get things done, and Lord help those who were standing in her way,” said Tom Nelson, director of student media.
Furlong does not want Rector’s legacy to be forgotten, though it is hard to imagine it ever could. “Pam founded CSA, and I think that can get lost because it’s been 20 years. But she was the founding director of this place. So much that has come from CSA that students just take as part of the fabric of our culture—from alternative breaks to El Espejo to other things—she was the one that brought [those] up.”
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel in honor of Rector and her legacy. For those looking to honor her further, CSA and Homeboy Industries, two organizations that Rector was deeply involved in, are accepting donations.
Rector will forever be remembered in this community and outside of it as a person that served for and with others. “Pam was a force. She still is a force. If we can embody that we will have lived good lives,” said Garrison-Engbrecht.