Two Jesuits recently returned to their respective alma maters in roles much different from their previous ones as students. Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson (’93) has returned to Marquette University in Milwaukee as associate vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President, and Jesuit Father Dan White (’90) is back at Saint Louis University as pastor of St. Francis Xavier College Church, where he was ordained in 2001.
For Fr. Hendrickson one difference is he’s living at the Jesuit Residence this time. However, he wouldn’t mind returning to a dorm. He said that if the opportunity presents itself, he would like to serve as a residence hall chaplain.
“Being a resident back in McCormick (his freshman dorm) — my college buddies would love it. If that happens, they have to come visit,” Fr. Hendrickson said.
Fr. Hendrickson’s new job includes participating in the university’s reaffirmation of the accreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission. His previous job at Marquette? A lifeguard at the rec center while he was a student.
Before returning to Marquette, Fr. Hendrickson taught at two high schools and three universities, including Creighton University in Omaha and Fordham University in New York.
“I hope I can be as encouraging, supportive and inspirational as the faculty, staff and Jesuits were during my time,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “It would be terrific to be able to impact the lives of students the way I was impacted. Marquette has always been filled with tremendous mentors in its faculty and the Jesuit community. So if someday, somehow I could be someone like that to someone else — that would be a great honor and privilege.”
Fr. Dan White is back in St. Louis after spending time working in Louisiana, Belize and Australia, and he’s excited about his new job as pastor. “I love that the parish and the university are so well integrated,” he said.
“The College Church is a unique blend of so many ministries and people,” said Fr. White. “It’s a chapel and parish rooted in a university campus. The masses draw SLU students, faculty and staff along with members of the religious community, the neighborhood and beyond. Our members come from about 70 different zip codes.”
Fr. White has found it can be a challenge to engage the post-undergraduate demographic of young people.
“Culture has changed a lot,” said Fr. White. “We need to see how to bring faith into a culture that is not as committed to institutions and is suspicious of authority.”
While the campus has expanded since he was a student, Fr. White appreciates that some things haven’t changed. “I love that it is still an urban campus, connected to the city. It is a very civically engaged place. The Jesuits have always been that way,” he said.
Fr. White also appreciates the changes he has noticed. “I have found that the university is much more intentional about being a Jesuit university. The mission of the school is more prominent,” he said.