The Heart of Brebeuf award is given to honor a member of the Brebeuf Jesuit community who believes in and exemplifies the mission and core values of the school. This award celebrates an individual who is rooted in intellectual pursuit, prayerful discernment and generous service, working to make the world more just, humane and loving.
Being missioned with supporting, inspiring, and guiding Brebeuf Jesuit students is a sacred duty. The Heart of Brebeuf honoree has not only applied their dedication to our students, but has given of their time and talents to enrich the entirety of the Brebeuf Jesuit community. The 2019 recipient of the Heart of Brebeuf award is former Brebeuf Jesuit President, Father Jack Dennis, S.J.
Father Jack began his tenure at Brebeuf in July 2012 and served as President until June 2018. During his six years as president, he focused on helping Brebeuf embrace its unique identity as “a different kind of Catholic school.” Leading a student body that’s 50 percent non-Catholic (10 percent non-Christian), Father Jack supported and strengthened Brebeuf’s commitment to openness and diversity, while at the same time re-introduced many of the sacred aspects central to the school’s Jesuit tradition. He believed that faith diversity and Jesuit values cannot only co-exist, but thrive in an educational setting, and is part of what distinguishes Brebeuf Jesuit today.
During his service to Brebeuf, Father Jack was a driving force behind a myriad of accomplishments: the Leading the Way capital campaign that raised more than $8 million for much-needed academic and facility renovations: Brebeuf’s successful ISACS accreditation in 2016; and effective recruitment and retention efforts.
For Father Jack, however, the focus has always been on ensuring Brebeuf students have a voice. When students asked if school convocations could focus more on current events, Father Jack responded, assembling panels of students to talk about issues, such as diversity and civil rights. He worked closely with school leadership and faculty to support students wishing to engage in meaningful, peaceful discourse and demonstration on issues dominating the national dialogue.
Following his service to Brebeuf, Father Jack returned to Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore to serve as university chaplain in Campus Ministry. In this role, he advises and counsels students, facilitates the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, and directs a number of retreats. A Baltimore native, Father Jack received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and spent a year of volunteer service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps., working as a community organizer. He then entered the Society of Jesus and went on to study philosophy at Fordham University. He received his Master of Theology and a master’s in Educational Administration, from Harvard University.