Rev. Arthur C. Bender, SJ '67 Awarded 2017 Deo et Patriae Award

On November 2, Rev. Arthur C. Bender, SJ '67, longtime member of the Regis High School faculty, was presented with the 2017 Deo et Patriae Award.

Kieran Quinn '67, a classmate and a previous Deo et Patriae award winner, had the honor of introducing Fr. Bender before the presentation of the award. He spoke of how proud he and his classmates are of Fr. Bender, and noted that Fr. Bender is such a special member of the class of 1967.

“History, Theology, English composition, Latin, Greek: I'm convinced if you gave him a physics textbook and asked him to fill in the classroom for the month, he'd be right on,” said Quinn. “The man does it all. What was that old movie? A Man for All Seasons? I think Art is a man for all subjects.”

Upon accepting the award, a very humble Fr. Bender noted that, “I feel like this year the award might better be thought of as an award to someone who Regis has made a significant contribution to: I mean of course to me.”

Father Bender went on to highlight how fortunate he feels to have been blessed to interact with so many wonderful people who have served as major influences on him over the course of his career. He described in detail his classmates, teachers, the alumni, the Trustees, the administrators and colleagues on the faculty, the parents, and the students, all of whom helped shape him in his vocation as a teacher.

“All these groups over the years have given so much to me,” concluded Fr. Bender, “and to all of them—to all of you—I am eternally grateful.”

(Watch the complete remarks from the 2017 Deo et Patriae event program embedded in the video above.)

After presenting the 2017 Deo et Patriae award to Fr. Bender, Peter Labbat, chair of the Board of Trustees, took to the podium for one final announcement.

“We thought long and hard about how to commemorate our Deo award winner,” began Labbat. “Derek Jeter has one; Hank Aaron has one; even George Washington has one... We think, Father Bender, that you ought to have one. In Latin this is the caput nutans, which literally translates into the nodding head.” With that, Labbat revealed a custom Fr. Bender bobblehead.

“Father Bender: to be immortalized as a bobblehead might not be every Jesuit's dream,” continued Labbat. “But, in truth—and I mean this—it is a sign of our genuine love for you; for the incredible, beautiful man that you are, and for everything you do, have done, and will continue to do for Regis."

Established in 1981, The Deo et Patriae Award is presented to a person who has served Regis and the community in a distinguished capacity. The award is celebrated annually each fall at the Deo et Patriae reception, which recognizes Annual Fund supporters at the Order of the Owl level.

Born and raised in Bayonne, NJ, and graduating from Regis in June 1967, Fr. Bender entered the Society of Jesus in July of that same year. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1978.

Fr. Bender spent the 1979-80 academic year at Regis teaching Latin and moderating both the Track team and The Crow (the journal of opinion). After a brief stint of additional graduate studies, he was assigned to St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, which also included two years as Assistant Director of Novices at the novitiate.

After enjoying a sabbatical during the academic year 1990-91, Fr. Bender was assigned back to Regis to teach History, where he has served as an integral member of the faculty ever since. He has taught freshman, sophomore, and senior history classes, and occasionally a class in Latin and Theology. He has been co-moderating The Owl for a number of years and served for a time as the Rector of the Jesuit community.

In the summer of 2017, the Class of 1967 raised a record $650,000 in honor of their 50th reunion. In doing so, they enthusiastically dedicated the class gift towards the endowment of the Arthur C. Bender, SJ ’67 Scholarship.

Photographs from the 2017 Deo et Patriae reception are posted below.

Peter Labbat '83, Rev. Arthur C. Bender, SJ '67, Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ, and Kieran Quinn '67.

Members of the Class of 1967 pose for a photo with their honored classmate.

Father Bender with his family at the 2017 Deo et Patriae reception.

Members of the Order of the Owl in attendance at the 2017 Deo et Patriae reception.

Members of the Order of the Owl in attendance at the 2017 Deo et Patriae reception.

Father Bender takes a moment to inspect the "Bender Bobble".

Longtime faculty members Greg Rapisarda and Hilda O'Connell were among the many current and former colleagues in attendance to see Fr. Bender accept the 2017 Deo et Patriae Award.

A close-up of the Fr. Bender Bobblehead.

Posted: 11/7/17