David J. Laughlin Selected as 17th President

KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 1, 2018 – Rockhurst High School’s Board of Trustees has appointed David J. Laughlin as the 107-year-old institution’s 17th president.  As the Jesuit, college preparatory school’s first lay president, he will succeed Rev. Terrence A. Baum, SJ. 

Laughlin is the current president of St. Louis University High School (SLUH).  Prior to his post at SLUH, Laughlin served as principal of Rockhurst High School from 2000 to 2005.

“We are excited to have David Laughlin return to Rockhurst High as our next president,” said Jonathan R. Haden, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  “In his twelve years at SLUH, he has developed a keen understanding of all the moving parts that must work in sync in order to make a Jesuit high school successful:  enrollment, advancement, finances, curriculum, co-curricular activities, and - first and foremost - formation of young men in our Jesuit tradition.  We look forward to his strategic and inspired leadership.”

Laughlin’s work in Jesuit secondary education spans 25 years, including service in administrative leadership positions at prestigious schools such as Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Rockhurst and SLUH.  His roles have included teacher, coach, director of campus ministry, dean of students, academic assistant principal, principal, and president.

With a life-long dedication to Jesuit education, Laughlin believes that helping young people form their minds and hearts, their friendships, and their identities during adolescence as children of a loving God, is a grace-filled endeavor.  He says that for Jesuit-led students, the discovery of mathematics, the beauty of art and poetry, the understanding of creation through science, the ability to speak publicly, and the development of critical thinking through literary analysis – these are all a part of coming to know God more deeply. 

“Beyond my twelve years as a President of SLUH, I find equally deep roots in my five years as a principal of Rockhurst High School, and my ten years as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Creighton Prep,” said Laughlin.  “Even more, the depth of those roots finds itself in my own experience of the Spiritual Exercises, with regular prayer and retreat experiences in the Ignatian tradition.  I have had the good fortune of serving at almost every level of a Jesuit high school, and I look forward to returning to Rockhurst as president.”

Haden spoke for the Rockhurst community regarding the school's outlook for the future.

"As chair of the Board of Trustees, I am excited about every aspect of Rockhurst's future," said Haden.  "Fr. Baum will leave a legacy of excellence and pride felt by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and an institution which is rock-solid.  We all share high hopes for the many gifts Rockhurst brings to the community, particularly in knowing we have an extraordinary leader on board in David Laughlin."

Laughlin will take office on July 1, 2018.  Fr. Baum announced in April that his service at Rockhurst would conclude following the 2016-2017 school year.  Of the 55 high schools in the Jesuit Schools Network (JSN), 40 percent are led by lay or non-Jesuit presidents.  Rev. William T. Sheahan, SJ, will serve as the school's Interim President until Laughlin's arrival. 

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Creighton University in 1988 (Endorsed Education for German and Theology), Laughlin received his Masters in Educational Administration from Creighton in 1991.  He is a 1984 graduate of Mount Michael Benedictine School in Elkhorn, NE.

Laughlin and his wife Kelly have four children: David (23), Thomas (21), Jacquelyn (19), and Joseph (17).

Search Contact

Mr. Allen Roberson
Chairman, Presidential Search Committee


Bookmark and Share

Rockhurst High School

Established in 1910 - Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

9301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO 64114-3299     816.363.2036