Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., was installed July 31 as rector of the Jesuit Community at Loyola Marymount University during the Mass to celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order. Deck is a nationally recognized commentator on Hispanic Catholicism, faith and culture, intercultural competence, spirituality and Catholic social teaching.
“Every aspect of the university’s life is affected by the Catholic tradition,” Deck said. “That tradition gives a place of central importance to the intellectual life and to critical understanding in the humanities, arts and sciences, as well as to the formation of whole persons called to be women and men for others.”
Deck holds the Charles S. Casassa, S.J., Chair of Catholic Social Values at LMU and is a professor of theological studies. He has also been a leading voice in the university’s Campus Conversations on Catholic Identity.
“The Catholic and Jesuit identity at LMU means that the role of faith in both the lives of individuals and society is honored and connected with the struggle to change the world and make it more just and equitable,” Deck said. “The entire LMU community, not just the Jesuits, is a stakeholder in this heritage.”
Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, appointed Deck to the rector’s position. Deck will be responsible for facilitating the community life of 34 Jesuits who, for the most part, live and work on campus. The rector supports the Jesuits in their life of prayer, work, recreation and community centered around teaching, research, writing, university administration and staffing, and campus ministry. He is also responsible for creating a pleasant and productive home environment, as well as a place of hospitality for visiting Jesuits and for LMU faculty, staff, students and their families on various occasions throughout the year.
Before joining LMU in 2012, Deck served as the first executive director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. He holds a doctoral degree in Latin American studies from St. Louis University, and a second doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. Deck is a cofounder and first president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States.
Deck is the author of “The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures.” In 2012 and 2013, he published books in Spanish on the connection between faith and justice, and he is researching and writing a book on Pope Francis’ pastoral vision that is expected to be published in 2016.