Living the Jesuit Ideals
By Fritz Esker ’00
The Charter School Movement has swept Orleans Parish in the past 10 years. But, contrary to popular opinion, it did not start post-Katrina. It began in 1998 with the formation of New Orleans Charter Middle School. Loyola alumnus Dr. Anthony Recasner '82 (psychology) was one of the school’s founders—just one of many achievements in his long and distinguished career, which earned him the Loyola Alumni Association’s Adjutor Hominum Award earlier this year, its highest honor.
The Adjutor Hominum Award honors a Loyola graduate whose life and work exemplifies the Jesuit ideals of moral character, service to humanity, and unquestionable integrity. Recasner, CEO of the Agenda for Children in Louisiana, is humbled and flattered by the acknowledgment.
"It means a great deal to me in that it’s both a recognition of how instrumental my Loyola education was in shaping my life and my work
and a way for the university to say, 'Job well done,' about my career," Recasner says.
A native of Uptown New Orleans, Recasner was not aware of the Jesuit ideals he would later embody when he first enrolled at Loyola. But on his first day of class, he met Fr. Hacker J. Fagot. He became fast friends with Fagot, and the friendship would endure until Fagot’s death.
"He was a psychologist," Recasner says of his mentor. "He really helped to translate the Jesuits’ mission of social justice into actionable work as a psychologist."
Recasner's career consistently demonstrates a focus on educating disadvantaged children. His approach isn't simply academic; it addresses the students’ emotional and social needs, as well. In President George W. Bush’s 2009 farewell address, he lauded Recasner for his work and held him up as an example for other Americans to follow.
The director of the Office of Teacher Education at Loyola, Dr. Jane Chauvin, M.E. ’70, also has high praise for Recasner: "He is
a man of integrity. I have never known him to use any situation for personal advantage. His thoughts are always for the good of the children of New Orleans."
Recasner also serves on the Board of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, and the Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, among other organizations.
Although Recasner is proud of his honors and his accomplishments, he believes he is only one of many Loyola graduates making a
positive difference in the world.
"The work of every graduate is important," Recasner says.