De Smet Jesuit principal announces retirement after 31 years of service
By: Sarah Wilson
Dr. Greg Densberger, principal of De Smet Jesuit, announced his retirement, effective May 31, after serving 31 years in the position.
The school will begin searching for a new principal immediately.
“I can honestly say that my work here has never been a job for me, and I feel privileged and grateful every day when I walk into De Smet Jesuit,” Densberger wrote in an email to faculty and staff.
“I leave the position of principal with a sense of optimism and promise. I sincerely feel that De Smet Jesuit is on the threshold of becoming an even stronger and more vital school.”
Since 1983, the first year Densberger was principal, 7,175 young men have graduated from De Smet Jesuit, representing 77 percent of its graduates.
“Words cannot adequately describe the impact of Dr. Densberger in the growth and success of De Smet Jesuit High School and its mission,” said Father Wally Sidney, president of De Smet Jesuit. “He has truly lived as a ‘Man for Others’ by giving half his life to support the academic, athletic, spiritual and moral life of thousands of young men. We wish him the very best in the next chapter of his life.”
Before coming to De Smet Jesuit, Densberger worked in three different Catholic high schools, including Chaminade in St. Louis, and schools in Kansas and Illinois.
After his retirement, Densberger has agreed to remain at De Smet Jesuit to help the president part time with long-term strategic planning.
“Other than that, I don’t really have any real plans,” Densberger said.
What he will miss most about De Smet Jesuit, Densberger said, is “the people, clearly the people.”
“It’s faculty and staff that have become friends over the years and whose company I enjoy on a daily basis,” he said. “And the students, I certainly will miss seeing (them) as well.”
For 31 years, he has witnessed the school grow and transition, with changes in technology, new buildings and updated curricula.
“But to me, I think probably the biggest thing is we’ve grown enormously in our sense of what the mission of De Smet is in terms of being a Jesuit school. I think I’m most proud of that,” Densberger said.
Second, he said he is most proud of the people he hired throughout the years.
“We’re a good school because we have good people,” he said. “There are a lot of people here that I hired that I feel good about hiring.”
His hopes for the future of De Smet include continuing its strong Catholic and Jesuit identity.
“I think that’s probably the most important thing, and I don’t have any doubt that, that will happen,” Densberger said. “If we do that, we’re going to attract young men and enrollment is going to be stable. And in reality, it becomes a driving force for what you do and the programs you have and what’s important to you.”