by Katie Kelley ’16
Starting his position as president of Jesuit High School on the first day of this coming July, Tom Arndorfer is more than excited to assume a position that will allow him to continue a life following the Jesuit tradition, something near and dear to his heart.
Mr. Arndorfer credits his associations with the Jesuits as his “Four Decade Jesuit Journey.” While in eighth grade in Sacramento, California, Mr. Arndorfer was introduced to the Jesuits for the first time when his mother gave him the opportunity to attend Jesuit High School in Sacramento.
“Jesuit [Sacramento] gave me a real sense of community and camaraderie; strong Jesuit pride, and a new Catholic identity and faith life that I previously didn’t have,” Mr. Arndorfer said.
“And like everyone at Jesuit [Portland] today, I learned about this concern for the marginalized.
But more importantly, I think the biggest thing was this notion, this belief, that there is something bigger out there- something broader that we should be pursuing.”
At some point during his high school years, Mr. Arndorfer recognized that he decided to eventually find his way back to the Jesuits after he pursued a corporate career.
“I wouldn’t be a Catholic today if I hadn’t gone to Jesuit High School and been introduced to faith,” Mr. Arndorfer said. “And I’m deeply grateful for that; for having a strong Catholic identity. And my life has basically just been a series of positive dominoes since I encountered the Jesuits.”
Mr. Arndorfer has been a dedicated member of the Jesuit Portland community for seven years, having served as both Chair and Vice-Chair for the Board of Trustees as well as the chair of the Finance, Nominating and Executive Committees. Mr. Arndorfer has had three children attend Jesuit High School: Katie, class of 2013, John, class of 2017, and David, class of 2018.
Both John and David will have the opportunity to attend Jesuit while their father is the president, a unique opportunity for a student to experience.
“I am excited to see my dad around the halls next year,” junior John Arndorfer said. “It will definitely be a change, but I am very proud of him and can’t wait to see the impact he will have on the school.”
In his coming years at Jesuit, Mr. Arndorfer is hoping to live out the school’s mission as best as possible, allowing students to learn more about themselves and thrive both academically, physically and spiritually.
“I love the fact that we serve all faith traditions,” Mr. Arndorfer said. “Hopefully every student strengthens their faith as a result of their time at Jesuit. We all have an opportunity to learn from one another. I love our mission and the fact that a Jesuit education is a comprehensive education. It’s not just about academics, it’s mind, body, heart, and soul. I really believe that.”
Mr. Arndorfer lives out a whole-hearted belief in the Jesuit Ignatian philosophy, a philosophy that strives to educate students through the five pillars of the Graduate at Graduation: Openness to Growth, Intellectual Competence, Religious, Loving, and Commitment to Doing Justice.
“The bottom line is that we are developing leaders to go out into the world and be ‘Men and Women for Others,’” Mr. Arndorfer said. “Our job is to form young people in their Catholic faith and identity and to an extent we can prepare people to encounter God everyday in what they do and in the people they encounter.”
The entire community at Jesuit is pleased to and excited welcome Mr. Arndorfer.
“Mr. Arndorfer’s intelligence, knowledge of Jesuit, passion for our mission, and real hunger to begin a service-centered phase of his professional career all have me excited,” Principal Hogan said. “[Mr. Arndorfer] is a proven leader who will teach us all a great deal.”