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November 27, 2023 — Jesuit Superior General Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, has appointed Father Thomas H. Smolich, SJ, as the new rector of the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, it was announced today. Fr. Smolich assumes his new role in the summer of 2024.

For the last nine years, Fr. Smolich has served as the international director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a humanitarian organization focused on helping refugees and other forcibly displaced people rebuild their lives. In 2022, JRS, which is headquartered in Rome with nine regional offices around the world, helped more than 1.5 million people in 58 countries. The organization was founded by former Jesuit Superior General Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, in 1980.

Prior to serving as the executive director of JRS, Fr. Smolich, a California native and a member of the Jesuits West Province, was the president of the Jesuit Conference, the organization that represents the Society of Jesus in the U.S. and the provincial of the former California Province Jesuits.

Fr. Smolich during a Mass in Colombia (JRS)

Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology (JST) is an international center of scholarly and ministerial formation. JST is the only school west of Chicago with an ecclesiastical faculty approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education to grant degrees in the name of the pope. The faculty and student body are comprised of lay men and women, Jesuits, clergy, and members of other religious orders. Distinguished faculty encourage students to think critically about theology and how to justly live out their faith in service of the Church and the global community.

Father Sean Carroll, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits West Province said, “Tom brings a wealth of experience having served as provincial of the California Province (1999-2005), the president of the Jesuit Conference (2006-2014), and the international director of Jesuit Refugee Service (2014-2023). We welcome Tom home to Jesuits West while he serves in this critical role.”