December 3, 2021 — On this feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron of the Jesuit educational ministries in Cincinnati, V. Rev. Karl Kiser, SJ, provincial of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, and the Board of Trustees of Xavier Jesuit Academy are pleased to announce that Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ, has been appointed as the Academy’s first president.
“Father Nathan’s Jesuit training and experience well prepare him to serve as the first president of Xavier Jesuit Academy. The Jesuits are privileged to partner with CISE, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and the Church of the Resurrection to open the newest Jesuit school in Cincinnati. We have deep roots in Cincinnati and the African-American community, and my brother Jesuits and I couldn’t be more excited to offer a Jesuit Catholic education to students from Bond Hill and its neighboring communities,” said Fr. Kiser.
Mike Keating, chair of the Board of Trustees for Xavier Jesuit Academy said, “Father Nathan is passionate about working with young men in their formation for life. He’s smart, energetic, and caring, and he believes in the Ignatian philosophy of ‘to love and to serve.’” Keating added, “We are most thankful for the wonderful generosity of the Burchenal family and the support of the Jesuits, CISE, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and the Church of the Resurrection in establishing this school.”
Mabe Rodriguez, executive director of CISE and lead visionary in bringing the idea of the school forward, said, “After more than two years of work to establish this project, this is a dream come true. Father Nathan brings great leadership and the Jesuit educational direction that will be critical in the formation of young men and in the management of the new school.”
Xavier Jesuit Academy is a newly established Jesuit primary school in Cincinnati. The Academy, which will serve male students in third through eighth grade from modest economic backgrounds, will open in the fall of 2023 at the site of the former St. Agnes School building at the Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill. The Jesuits have a history of serving youth in poverty across the country and believe breaking the cycle of poverty and providing a faith-based education transforms lives. The Jesuits have eight other schools of this kind throughout the Midwest that serve approximately 1000 students in pre-K through eighth grade. Xavier Jesuit Academy will provide a rigorous academic program with robust faith formation, thus preparing graduates to thrive in academics and in life. The Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus partnered with CISE (Catholic Inner-City Schools Education), the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and the Church of the Resurrection to form the school.
About Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ: Father Wendt is currently the program coordinator for Xavier University’s Road Through Xavier, an undergraduate formation program featuring multiple high-impact learning experiences offered throughout students’ university careers. Previously, Fr. Wendt served as the founding director of the Loyola Scholars program at Creighton Prep in Omaha, where he created and implemented a year-round, three-year academic and leadership achievement program serving male students in sixth through eighth grade. The program is in support of Creighton Prep’s strategic initiative of reaching more families who desire a faith-centered college prep education while also enhancing the diversity of the student body. Father Wendt also has served as chaplain and officer for mission and identity at Jesuit Academy in Omaha and associate pastor at Gesu Catholic Church and School in Detroit, and he was the Corporate Work Study assistant director for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School-Twin Cities. Father Wendt serves on a number of boards, including those of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Jesuit Academy in Omaha, the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and Gesu Housing, Inc.
Father Wendt is a native of Cleveland, where he attended Saint Ignatius High School. He has a master of divinity degree and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, a master of arts degree in social philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, and a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Marquette University. Father Wendt was identified through a national search. He will begin his service in January.
The Xavier Jesuit Academy Board:
Jesuit Member Board:
Fr. Walter C. Deye, SJ – Rector, Cincinnati Jesuit Community
Fr. Rick Millbourn, SJ – Faculty, St. Xavier High School
Fr. Nathan C. Wendt, SJ – President, Xavier Jesuit Academy
Board of Trustees:
Bill Baechtold – Partner, Graydon Law
Sam Burchenal – Wealth Strategy Associate, UBS
Matt Couture – Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education for the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus
Fr. Michael Graham, SJ – Former President of Xavier University
Alma R. Helpling – Treasurer and Secretary of Xavier Jesuit Academy, Former CFO of The Christ Hospital Health Network
Rod Hinton – Chief Administrative Officer of The Children’s Home
Eric Kearney – President of the African American Chamber of Commerce
Mike Keating – Chair of the Board of Trustees of Xavier Jesuit Academy, Former President and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network
Gene Ellington – President of Ellington Management Services
Bill Moran – Former Senior Vice President of Fifth Third Bank
Gregory W. Olson – CEO of Urban Sites
Tim Reilly – President of St. Xavier High School
Pat Robertson – Former Procter & Gamble Executive, Former Board Chair of DePaul Cristo Rey, Former Board Member of St. Xavier High School
Mabe Rodriguez – Executive Director of CISE
Harry Santen – Board Member of CISE, Great Living Cincinnatian
Dr. Janice Walker – Assistant to the President for Special Initiatives, Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Fr. Nathan C. Wendt, SJ – President of Xavier Jesuit Academy
Deacon Royce Winters – Director of African American Pastoral Ministries for Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Pastoral Administrator for the Church of the Resurrection
About the Jesuits’ presence in Cincinnati: In 1840, the Jesuits were invited by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to staff the first Catholic school in the area, the Athenaeum. Those Jesuits dedicated their work to the patronage of St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary. Since those early days, the Jesuits in Cincinnati have continued the tradition of placing their ministries in the care of St. Francis Xavier. These ministries include St. Xavier High School, St. Xavier Church, and Xavier University, as well as St. Robert Bellarmine Parish and the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford. The newest Jesuit school, Xavier Jesuit Academy, plans to open its doors in Bond Hill in the fall of 2023.