New President Set to Begin at Loyola

James Casey, Writer

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, Father Ostdiek will become the president of Loyola Academy, taking the helm of a long lasting and flourishing school. Entering with a variety of collegiate degrees, years spent in the armed forces, and time spent as a physics teacher at Loyola Academy, Father Ostdiek is perhaps the most versatile candidate the school has seen in years. 

After years of prosperous growth and development under President Father Patrick McGrath, SJ, Loyola Academy has appointed Father Gregory J. Ostdiek, SJ as its new head. The move comes at an important time for Loyola Academy with the opening of the new Center for the Performing Arts, including the Leemputte Family Theatre, and the hiring of a new principal. Loyola Academy’s future success is contingent on a President who is both educated and experienced. 

Father Ostdiek luckily comes equipped with 13 years of military experience and a host of degrees from universities including Fordham, Penn State, Dayton, Boston College, and Harvard. He also points out the value of Jesuit training as a valuable resource for Loyola presidents to have. Using Father Stan as an example of a Jesuit who truly lives the mission, Father Ostdiek asserts Jesuit training as a valuable resource in one’s ability to live the “Jesuit Charism” and “lead in the sacramental life.” 

Before becoming a Jesuit, however, Father Ostdiek served in the United States Navy. Despite being an officer, Father Ostdiek frequently performed tasks such as nuclear power management and air defense using his engineering background. After a long tenure in service to the United States, however, “The spirit spoke to me. I learned how to listen and I realized I was in the wrong uniform…After 13 years in the Navy, I switched and started training up to be a Jesuit.” 

Though Father Ostdiek’s original passion was teaching, he moved into administrative training after “discernment,” a mandatory career change dictated by Jesuit leaders. After years of management and spiritual experience in a wide variety of places, Father Ostdiek is prepared to take on the role of the leader of Loyola Academy. 

As a preliminary goal for Loyola Academy, Father Ostdiek said he wanted to begin a tradition of welcoming the freshman as he had seen at a number of other Jesuit schools that he had visited. On a broader and more long term scope, however, Father Ostdiek echoed the wise leadership of Father McGrath in looking forward to continuing to build Loyola’s arts programs. He wants to see Loyola match its current prowess and drive for sports in its artistic program. 

“Wouldn’t it be great if Loyola became to theatre education what it already is to athletics?” Father Ostdiek expressed his wish for Loyola students to be able to fill in a “missing chunk” in their education by enriching themselves in the arts and becoming a more complete person by the time of their graduation. 

Because of its position as a prosperous school with a tradition of perfection, Loyola has the responsibility to illustrate what it looks like for a Jesuit school to live out the Jesuit doctrine of cura personalis: educating the whole person. A robust arts program would help solidify Loyola as an “example to other schools.” 

One potential solution to the issue of artistic access for student-athletes mentioned by Father Ostdiek would be adding a third play to the school year, coinciding with the athletic schedule, to allow students to more easily transition from sports to theatre. 

The entire Loyola community looks forward to Father Ostdiek and his future tenure at Loyola Academy. In its coming years, Loyola Academy will be lucky to have a president with an array of academic and real world experience. Father Ostdiek is a living example of curis personalis and is perhaps the perfect person to lead the country’s largest Jesuit highschool.