May 12, 2020 — Fr. Thomas Neitzke, SJ, has been appointed dean of Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, effective August 1, 2020. Arrupe College is the world's first Jesuit community college, founded in 2015.
Fr. Neitzke comes to Arrupe College from Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska, where he has served as president since 2015. He previously served as president of Jesuit Academy, principal of Jesuit Academy, and an adjunct instructor at Creighton University. Through his career, Fr. Neitzke has demonstrated an energetic, innovative approach to meeting the needs of diverse students, families, and communities.
During his time at Creighton Prep, he oversaw the expansion of several programs that echo Arrupe’s intensive, holistic support model for students. These included a campus “learning commons” to provide academic and emotional resources to the school's 1,100 students. The commons includes a "learning differences" specialist, an on-staff psychologist, academic coaches, and a director for student outreach and advocacy.
Fr. Neitzke is an alumnus of Loyola, having earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology. He earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Divinity from Santa Clara University. In addition, he earned a doctorate in leadership from Creighton University. A native of Port Washington, Wisconsin, Fr. Neitzke entered the Society of Jesus in 1999 and was ordained a priest in 2010. He serves on numerous boards and professional committees. These include the board of trustees at Marquette University and the board of directors of Marquette University High School, both in Milwaukee. He also serves on the faculty of Jesuit Worldwide Learning: Higher Education at the Margins.
Fr. Neitzke will succeed the founding dean of Arrupe College, Fr. Steve Katsouros, SJ. In this job, Fr. Neitzke will continue to strengthen the model of collegiate success of Arrupe. This model provides an entry point for students who would not typically be able to afford college and access to a high-quality Jesuit education with little to no debt.
The rigorous program of Arrupe, built on a Jesuit-informed model of wraparound support for students and families, leads to an associate's degree. This degree gives students the tools and support they need to be successful in college and to transfer to baccalaureate programs. In its first five years, Arrupe’s results are ground-breaking. While only 13 percent of low-income students complete an associate’s degree in two years, nearly half of Arrupe students graduate in two years. Moreover, over 60 percent complete the degree in three years. Nearly 80 percent of Arrupe graduates who transfer to four-year programs are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in five years.
Arrupe College has become a national model for preparing first-generation students for success in college and in life. Fr. Neitzke will collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to fortify and sustain the vision that builds upon success. This vision leads to deeper approaches to student achievement and delivers a high-quality Jesuit education. [Source: Loyola University Chicago]