January 12, 2016 — Jesuit Father Gerard L. Stockhausen, who served as the Socius and Executive Secretary to the President and Director of Planning for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, passed away on January 12, 2016, at age 66 after a one-year battle with leukemia. Based in Washington, D.C., the Jesuit Conference is the administrative arm of the Society of Jesus in Canada and the U.S.
A member of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Stockhausen joined the Jesuit Conference in August of 2010. Previously, he served as the president of the University of Detroit Mercy from 2004 to 2010 and was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost there from 2000 to 2004. He also taught economics in the College of Business Administration at Creighton University in Omaha from 1985 to 2000.
Fr. Stockhausen was born in Milwaukee on August 27, 1949. After completing St. Sebastian’s Grade School and Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1967 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1979. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan; a master’s degree in social ethics and a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California; and a master’s degree in mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University.
In May 2014, Fr. Stockhausen returned to the University of Detroit Mercy to deliver the undergraduate commencement address, where he thanked those he worked with at UDM: “That’s the first life lesson: You can’t do it yourself. Find good people to work with.”
In 2014, Fr, Stockhausen delivered the commencement address at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he had previously served as president.
Fr. Stockhausen also reflected on challenging times at UDM, when finances were tight and one of the two campuses was sold. While Fr. Stockhausen said it was an adjustment for faculty, staff and students, it led to another valuable lesson: “Don’t underestimate people’s ability to step up and be creative when faced with a challenge.”
“University of Detroit Mercy lost an incredible leader and a wonderful friend last night, Gerard L. Stockhausen, SJ,” said Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., president of UDM, in a statement. “We are extremely thankful for his leadership and commitment to University of Detroit Mercy’s mission in maintaining its educational traditions of UDM’s founding sponsors (the Jesuits and Sisters of Mercy), academic excellence and community service.”
"Fr. Stockhausen was a talented Jesuit priest, scholar and leader," said Fr. Tom Lawler, SJ, provincial of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. "Among his interests and hobbies were his love of the outdoors and a love of music, singing and guitar playing. He was respected as a leader, a priest, a friend and a teacher. He remained pastorally active wherever he served and kept in close contact with his Jesuit brothers across many provinces. He had a deep faith and love of the Church, the Society of Jesus and the people of God."
A funeral Mass for Fr. Stockhausen will celebrated at Marquette University’s Gesu Church in Milwaukee.