December 10, 2018 — The Board of Directors of Loyola High School in Detroit today announced David Smith will become the school’s sixth president effective July 1, 2019. Smith succeeds current president, Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, who will begin preparations for his final vows. Father Luedtke led the all-male school in its mission to create “Men for Others” in the Jesuit tradition. Under Fr. Luedtke’s stewardship, Loyola attained 100 percent college acceptance for each graduating student during his tenure.
“The education of Detroit’s young men is critical to the long-term success of our city, and Fr. Mark prepared two hundred students to become our future leaders,” said Cathy McNamara, Chairman of the Loyola Board. “We are blessed to have had his leadership and vision and look forward to continuing his good work under the leadership of David Smith.”
Smith, one of six children, was born and raised in Detroit and attended SS. Peter & Paul grade school and St. Alphonsus high school. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in political science, he spent five years in sales with Procter & Gamble. He then began a 30-year career with Johnson & Johnson, during which time he lived in Florida, Tokyo, and London. Smith and his family were active in the Catholic parishes around the world, including the Franciscan Chapel in Tokyo and St. Margaret’s in London.
Smith’s most recent job was president, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Japan.
“My wife and I are thrilled to return to Detroit, my hometown, after 35 years of global business experience,” Smith said. “As president of Loyola High School of Detroit, I intend to bring the perspective of my global work experience along with my life-long Catholic faith to help our young men of Detroit realize their full potential. I carry the mantle of work already done by Fr. Mark Luedtke and his predecessors who have built a foundation of excellence in collaboration with the Jesuits and the Archdiocese of Detroit.”
Smith will work with Principal Wyatt Jones III, the Loyola High School administrative staff, faculty, Board of Directors and supporters to continue the tradition of success at Loyola.
“It is my privilege to partner with Archbishop Vigneron to mission Mr. David Smith as the next president of Loyola High School,” said Fr. Brian G. Paulson, SJ, provincial of the Midwest Jesuits. “Dave brings so many gifts to this important Jesuit apostolate, most significantly his vibrant Catholic faith. A true son of Detroit, it is this faith he received through the parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Detroit that he now seeks to pass on. Having moved away after college, Dave returns to this very same city and Archdiocese where these seeds were planted in him. Joining my brother Jesuits and our lay colleagues, Dave will lead Loyola High School to even greater service to the young men and families it has served these first 26 years.”
“Catholic education has long been a top priority for both the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Society of Jesus,” said Kevin Kijewski, superintendent of schools at the Archdiocese of Detroit. “We are blessed that Mr. David Smith brings with him a record of innovation and significant professional accomplishment to his new role of president at Loyola High School. He holds a deep personal belief in Catholic schools’ ability to help children realize their God-given potential. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Smith, a native Detroiter, back home and are confident the Loyola community will be strengthened and achieve great success under his leadership.”
Smith’s extended family includes multiple diocesan priests and a Franciscan sister. He will take over the presidency of Loyola High School on July 1, 2019.