In July 1967 a small group of Catholic educators and religious leaders convened at a conference center in the tiny town of Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin to discuss how North American colleges and universities could participate in the post-Vatican II renewal of the Church. They produced an historic memorandum, later known simply as "Land O’ Lakes,” that outlined a new understanding of relations between Catholic universities and the Church hierarchy in areas including governance, academic freedom, and academic theology. This document proved to be both influential and controversial, and the path it laid down continues to have a profound impact on Catholic higher education.

To mark the 50th anniversary, earlier this week Boston College hosted a public conference to reflect on the impact of the agreement on Catholic higher education. President Linda LeMura was part of a panel discussion that looked at "The Legacy of Land O’ Lakes in Catholic Higher Education Today." Others on the panel were Michael Hemesath, St. John's University; Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., The University of Notre Dame; Sean Sheridan, TOR, JD, JCD, Franciscan University of Steubenville; and Peter Steinfels, director emeritus, Fordham Center for Religion and Culture; BC History Professor James O'Toole moderated the panel.