Richard Rolfs, S.J.

Message from the President
March 10, 2022

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Rev. Richard Rolfs, S.J., former LMU dean of students, emeritus professor of history, and Faculty Hall of Fame member, passed away on March 7, 2022, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 98 years old.

Father Rolfs joined Loyola University in 1968 as an instructor in political science. He became an assistant professor of European history in 1974, an associate professor in 1980, and was promoted to the rank of professor in 1997. Father Rolfs retired in 2005 and was awarded emeritus status, continuing to teach in a part-time capacity until 2012. An esteemed scholar, Father Rolfs was an expert on the history of Germany’s Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the roots of anti-Semitism.

His legacy is reflected in the generations of students and colleagues he impacted throughout his service to LMU. Father Rolfs was dean of students from 1964-70, president of the Academic Assembly from 1978-79, and chair of the Department of History from 1978-86. He also served as a trustee from 1978-86, where he was a member of the Executive Committee, the Facilities and Long-Range Planning Committee, the Committee for Academic Affairs, and the Student Affairs Committee.

Father Rolfs attended Loyola University from 1946-48. He earned an A.B. in philosophy, an M.A. in history, and an M.A. in philosophy from Gonzaga University, and his Ph.D. from the UC Santa Barbara. He also earned a Licentiate in Theology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Father Rolfs began his teaching career at Loyola High School
in 1955.

Father Rolfs entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 14, 1948, was ordained on July 26, 1961, and professed his final vows on March 19, 1977.

Memorial plans are forthcoming and will be shared in LMU This Week. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Richard Rolfs, S.J. Endowed Scholarship at LMU, created in 2017 by Father Rolfs’s brother, John, a 1948 Loyola University alumnus.

Please keep Dick, his Jesuit brothers, his many colleagues, and family and friends in your prayers as he heads home to the Lord whom he faithfully served.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.