The Rev. Justin Daffron S.J. prepares for presidency

The+Rev.+Justin+Daffron%2C+S.J.+stands+in+front+of+his+bookshelf+in+his+office+on+Feb.+14%2C+2021.+Daffron+will+step+up+as+interim+president+after+current+president+Tania+Tetlow+leaves+this+summer.+

Gaby Carballo

The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J. stands in front of his bookshelf in his office on Feb. 14, 2021. Daffron will step up as interim president after current president Tania Tetlow leaves this summer.

Artie Bennett, News Editor

The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J. is moving across the hall to the presidential office this summer.

After current University President Tania Tetlow steps down at the end of the semester, Daffron will be guiding Loyola through the transition as the new interim president. He said he plans to continue to strive towards diversity, equity, and inclusion while strengthening the university’s Jesuit identity.
“I am dedicated to continuing to build the strong type of culture that enables us to be grounded in the values that are most important to our community,” Daffron said.
Daffron said he hopes to preserve Tetlow’s legacy of a commitment to a more inclusive Loyola and make the transition as painless as possible for faculty and students.
“A transition in leadership is vulnerable for many people,” Daffron said. “How do we continue to care for each other in mind, body, and spirit?”
Daffron said he wants to focus on improvement in areas of university life that are essential for students and strengthening Loyola’s Jesuit identity, like residential life and university ministry. Daffron has been at Loyola since 2019, serving as the vice president for mission and identity.
Though the transition seems sudden, Daffron said, he feels prepared to step into his new position and already feels hopeful for the future ahead. While the university searches for a permanent president, Daffron intends to continue executing the university’s strategic plan. The strategic plan began in 2020 and outlines a three year reflective process designed to create a more diverse and inclusive Loyola.
“Because of the good work that President Tetlow did, in terms of strategic planning, we have a couple of years before we have to step forward and create something new,” Daffron said. “We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing to provide students the kind of transformative education that allows students to develop their gifts, talents, and callings.”
Daffron said that he, Tetlow, and the presidential cabinet are working closely together to plan a smooth transition.

Tetlow is acting as president until graduation 2022 and will continue to support Loyola after her departure, according to Daffron. 

Currently, Daffron is serving as the interim president while the university forms a search committee and plans a nationwide search for the new permanent president, said Patrica Murret, associate director of public affairs. 

Daffron said that he has a future ahead of him at Loyola, even if he isn’t named as the permanent president., though Murret said he is being considered for the permanent president position.

“I definitely see a long future for myself at Loyola and that could be in a number of roles,” Daffron said. “I feel so fortunate to have an opportunity to see if I’m a good fit for the presidential role.” 

Though Daffron is new to his position, he said he is familiar with academic administration and strategic planning. Daffron has an extensive academic resume and has served at multiple Jesuit institutions, such as Spring Hill College, Loyola University Chicago, and Saint Louis University, according to Murret. 

Daffron said that while the prospect of serving as interim president was exciting, he had to draw upon his Jesuit teachings and decide if it was his calling. 

“As I envisioned the future of serving as interim president, it built a sense of hope and consolation,” Daffron said. “There was a sense of fear, but those fears didn’t serve the purpose of the greater good. I had a great feeling of peace.” 

Daffron said that he loves Loyola and the community and that he’s excited to serve the student body in a new capacity. He said he finds joy in Loyola’s diverse students and commitment to Jesuit education. 

“When I walk around this campus, what I see is something different, Daffron said. “I see a blessing.”