Jim, BSIR ’57, and Sue Karl

“You can’t do anything unless you have a college education.” – The Honorable Jim Karl, Class of 1957

This fundamental conviction proved to be a driving force not only for Rockhurst esteemed alumnus and Regent, Jim Karl, but a belief he and wife, Sue, instilled in their children. Reflecting on his formative years, Jim mentions how his father did not receive much formal education, but was an avid reader and valued education greatly for his children. He influenced Jim with the belief that some of the best educators in the world were Jesuits, and that their professionalism, spirit, leadership and service to others were ideals to behold. 

A St. Louis native, Jim attended Jesuit-run St. Louis University High School when Rockhurst legend Fr. Maurice Van Ackeren presided as principal. Jim comments that he then “followed Fr. Van to Rockhurst” and continued his long-term friendship with him for years after. Jim met Sue, a Kansas Citian, at a local basketball game during Jim’s senior year. During their early years of marriage, Fr. Van Ackeren helped them find their first home in the 5300 block of Forest, where the Science Center now stands. 

Sue recalls her early ties to the campus. “The Rockhurst campus was the kids’ playground. I also participated in the Rockhurst Circle gatherings as a means to get out and about, yet still be close to home.” 

Clearly entrenched in the Jesuit tradition and philosophies, it was only natural that several of the Karl children attend their dad’s alma mater. Four of the eight Karl kids attended Rockhurst, and all four married fellow Rockhurst students. “We knew our children were getting a top-notch education,” comments Sue. Jim and Sue even served on the Parents Association while their children were at Rockhurst, showing their continued support by rallying fellow parents to support the College financially.

Jim and Sue value how Jesuit education promotes the development of the whole person by teaching you how to think, and how to be a leader. Even though their children graduated years ago, they continue to support the University to ensure the Jesuit tradition continues. Jim reflects how his Rockhurst connections have served him well throughout his entire life. “A Rockhurst education helps get your foot in the door for so many opportunities. There’s nothing greater than a Jesuit education.”

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