“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
As I embark on my first step as president of St. John Vianney High School, the world, our nation and our school community have traversed some challenging staircases over the past four months. The hard-fought road to winning a state hockey championship, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and punctuated by a call for sweeping reforms after the tragic death of George Floyd. These events have tested our resolve, tapped our emotions, and explored our humanity. Through it all, I believe that the words of our Blessed Mother, “Do whatever He tells you,” will continue to light Vianney’s staircase and our future as a Marianist school community.
I know that God places people on our personal staircase to help us find our way. It has been a blessing to have Mr. Mike Loyet as my guide. Much has been said about the gifts that Mr. Loyet brought to Vianney over his many years of service as a Marianist educator and administrator. I can only add that his legacy of love for this school will undoubtedly be remembered and celebrated during Vianney’s next 60 years.
I am also fortunate to be working with a talented, faith-filled faculty and staff, led by our principal, Mr. Ian Mulligan. This team, along with an outstanding board of directors, is truly devoted to the mission of forming our students spiritually, academically, and personally in the Catholic, Marianist tradition. In my view, Men of Character and Accomplishment is more than a tagline; it is a heartfelt promise to students, parents, alumni, and benefactors. Vianney will always maintain its pledge to prepare young men to confidently meet the opportunities and challenges of this world, through college and beyond.
Now ordinarily, this would be the ideal time to outline my vision for Vianney’s future. Quite honestly, I wish that these times were indeed ordinary, as much of my transition into this role has been dedicated to planning a safe return to campus for students, faculty, and staff this coming school year. As part of a task force initiated in May, we have worked to ensure that the faith formation, academics, co-curricular activities, and personal engagement which represent the very essence of Vianney, will be firmly in place as the health and well being of our school community takes on a new and greater significance. Please know that throughout my service as a board member, the selection process last fall, my six-month preparation, and right up to the present day…this mind has been filled with “all things Vianney.” My vision will most assuredly emerge as we travel our many staircases together.
Finally, a request: I humbly ask for your prayers and support as I start this journey, mindful of those words spoken by Dr. King, that the “first step in faith” is essential. And, together, we will proceed with the love and dedication of a Marianist community to ascend each step in the success story called St. John Vianney High School.
Rick Davis ’79
December 4, 2019
St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Missouri is pleased to announce its next president. Richard P. Davis officially assumes his responsibilities on July 1, 2020. Davis completed his bachelor’s and master’s in business administration at Saint Louis University and worked at Anheuser-Busch for more than 20 years, rising to Vice-President of Mass Merchandising to oversee the company’s largest retail customers. He went on to serve as Director of Advancement at Covenant House Missouri and is currently an adjunct faculty member in the College of Business and Administration at University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is a member of Vianney’s Class of 1979 and serves on the school’s Board of Directors.
“My professional life has been dedicated to building relationships, mentoring associates, providing solutions for customer needs, and reaching organizational goals. My experience ranges from leading multi-functional teams in large companies to achieving the funding goals of a shelter for homeless youth. Recently, I created and currently teach a university-level business course. I have a passion for education that helps young people grow spiritually, intellectually, and professionally,” said Davis.
Davis has been a member of Assumption Parish (Mattese) for the past 28 years and was endorsed by the Society of Mary who founded St. John Vianney High School in 1960. “Rick possesses proven professional experience in leadership, business strategy, and marketing. He is a man of faith…Rick’s understanding of our Characteristics of Marianist Education makes him uniquely qualified to sustain St. John Vianney High School as a Catholic, Marianist institution,” wrote Assistant for Education Bro. Jesse O’Neill, SM.
President Mike Loyet retires at the end of the school year after leading Vianney since 2007. His service allowed the school to operate with a surplus budget and build its endowment while advancing the school’s mission to form young men for spiritual, academic, and personal excellence in the Catholic, Marianist tradition. Loyet remains in an advisory capacity through the 2020-2021 school year.