October 24, 2020 — Father Robert T. Walsh, SJ, died at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, on Oct. 24, 2020. He was 70 years old and been a Jesuit for 52 years, 40 as an ordained priest.
For more than 30 years, Fr. Walsh was a leading figure in Jesuit education in the former California Province, now the Jesuits West Province. His commitment to the academic rigor and ministerial service of Jesuit education helped to strengthen its effects in the schools in which he played a leading role — Loyola High School of Los Angeles, St. Ignatius College Prep of San Francisco and Loyola Marymount University (LMU).
A fifth-generation Californian, Fr. Walsh was born August 30, 1950, and joined the Jesuits in 1968 after graduating from St. Ignatius College Prep. He was ordained in 1980. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology and a master’s degree in private school administration from the University of San Francisco.
Fr. Walsh was principal and president of Loyola High School in Los Angeles from 1992 to 2005 and president of St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco from 2006 to 2012.
At LMU, he served as executive director of the LMU Center for Catholic Education for five years and then chancellor of the university in 2018 to 2020. At the Center for Catholic Education, Fr. Walsh led the implementation of innovative programs in the areas of leadership development, teacher preparation, research, professional development and outreach. Under his direction, the center won the Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovation Award in 2016 for its comprehensive approach to furthering the mission of Catholic education. Fr. Walsh also served as chaplain of LMU’s service organization Magis.
Survivors include Fr. Walsh’s mother, Maryjane, and brothers, all St. Ignatius College Prep (SI) alumni, Jim (Diane), Paul (Barbara), and Greg (Mary). Fr. Walsh’s father, Jim, now deceased, graduated from SI in 1940. A Memorial Mass was held at St. Ignatius Chapel at LMU.