What Is Said About David Laughlin

"I have known and worked with David Laughlin for more than 20 years.  During our collaboration when he was principal at Rockhurst High School, and throughout many projects to promote and benefit the formation for young people, I have come to appreciate his love for Catholic education and the Jesuit ideal of being 'men and women for others.'  He will provide outstanding service as president of Rockhurst High School."
Rev. Terrence A. Baum, SJ, President, Rockhurst High School

“We are excited to have David Laughlin return to Rockhurst High as our next president.  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, extracurricular activities, and – first and foremost - formation of young men in our Jesuit tradition.  We look forward to his strategic and inspired leadership.”
Jonathan R. Haden '75, Chairman, Board of Trustees

"David has a remarkable record of achievement and a strong commitment to both his Catholic faith and the Jesuit mission.  What we have learned through this search, without exception, is that he has made every institution he has touched far better for his presence. He has a unique combination of personal humility and confidence, and we believe his commitment to the excellence of Rockhurst High School - in all of its parts – will be a hallmark of his leadership. We are pleased that from a pool of outstanding candidates, we found in David a leader who is an ideal match for Rockhurst today."
Allen K. Roberson '84, Chairman, Presidential Search Committee

"The Search Committee and Board at Rockhurst High School have served the school well in choosing Mr. Laughlin as the first lay president of the school. Mr. Laughlin brings with him a proven track record of achievement in leading a major secondary school and also in helping a school recognize how to maintain its Jesuit character while having lay leadership. He has done so remarkably well. I am very grateful that I will still be able to rely upon him as a trusted colleague, though now in Kansas City rather than St. Louis."  
V. Rev. Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, Provincial Superior of the Central and Southern Province

Quotes From David Laughlin

Educational and spiritual leadership is key for the successful operation of any school.”

Management must happen at a high level to regularly connect and communicate with the community about the importance of the school’s mission for support. There must be constant effort to ever-engage new supporters, while stewarding those who are benefactors, which is the pre-eminent responsibility of presidential service.”

I believe that the effective and efficient operation of a Jesuit high school is not some exercise in capturing the best of efficiency for its own sake. The deep spiritual mission of the school calls all involved to be focused on the formation of its students – first as son’s of God, then as students in an
academic environment, then through the various activities of the school, and finally in their healthy social development.”

There is a purpose to our efforts that rests in the long ago language of St. Ignatius – ‘Helping souls.’”

As a President, one of my key points of prayer, reflection and discernment regarding any conversation taking place in a meeting, hallway, lunchroom, etc., is whether or not it is a conversation which serves that end, which is student formation. If we are focused on our adult community in some disproportionate way, or if we become too focused on raising money for its own sake, etc. then we begin to lose our focus.”

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. 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.”

Our tradition of finding God in all things is impactful for me as President...it is the people who carry out this Christ centered mission. Caring for, knowing and loving the people of a school community is very important. This means coming to know them for more than whatever assigned role they have. This care must be genuine. Still, any individual who is failing at carrying out that mission of the school, must also not somehow be ignored and therefore interfere with our goals. It is also truly in the details of our daily work that God can be found and those details, well organized, disciplined and effective matter. This is not an efficiency exercise for its own sake, and very much an example set by St. Ignatius himself.”

A detailed way of proceeding is necessary to effectively allow God’s Holy Spirit to channel through our work and through us to the end for which our schools exist. Being a president calls me to regularly speak to the purpose of our mission. I need to be able to articulate this purpose well, in written and spoken word. It is important for a president to be present – in school, at events, in hospital visits, at funerals, in caring for employees, students and families and is being present to the greater city community in a civic fashion. Being a president seems to be constantly new territory. It is very time consuming, but joyfully so.”

My experience has been one of continual learning, continual outreach, and certain humility, in leading a Jesuit school community. I believe this approach is grounded in the Spiritual Exercises where we are asked to reflect on three questions: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ? These set of questions resonate in my prayer.”


Search Contact

Mr. Allen Roberson
Chairman, Presidential Search Committee


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Rockhurst High School

Established in 1910 - Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

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