How does a Jesuit education get you to Graceland? Just ask Jack Soden, President and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Proving that you can do anything with a liberal arts education, the English major moved home to Kansas City after graduating from Regis University to work in the investment banking industry. His life changed when he met a client, Priscilla Presley, who hired him to move to Memphis, Tenn., to help develop the business plan to open Elvis’ home, Graceland, in 1982. The historic estate draws upwards of 650,000 visitors each year, bringing an estimated $200 million annually to the Memphis economy.

Jack Soden

“With no easy comparisons, we didn’t really know what kind of response there would be to Graceland,” Jack told students during a 2005 visit to Regis University. “Imagine starting a job and your employers have no expectations of you. What Graceland has become exceeded all of our expectations.”

He credits his time at Regis University with setting the foundation for his professional success. Serving on the student government board, planning Ranger Day, attending math classes with Rev. Fred Daly, SJ, and immersing himself in the liberal arts curriculum were just some of the defining aspects of his Regis story.

Today, Jack oversees a multi-million dollar company that has become one of the nation’s premier tourist attractions. Beyond Graceland, Elvis Presley Enterprises includes a worldwide entertainment, licensing, merchandising and music publishing enterprise.

In 2001, Jack collaborated with Lisa Marie Presley to open Presley Place, an organization owned by Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association that provides homeless families with assistance to help them break the cycle of poverty. Services they receive include rent-free housing for up to one year, childcare, and career and financial counseling.

“There’s a culture at a Jesuit school that challenges you to grow,” says Jack. “Jesuit education doesn’t teach you what to think, but how to think, to make decisions and to lead.”

Soden, who earned a Bachelor of Arts from Regis University in 1968, was recognized with the Alumni Achievement award in 2009 by the University’s Alumni Board and Spirit of Loretto Committee for his outstanding contributions and exceptional achievements.

Soden also takes the Regis University mission of service of others to heart, donating his time to several organizations. That involvement includes having served on boards of the Memphis Development Foundation (Orpheum Theatre), National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Regional Medical Center at Memphis, Professional Advisory Board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Society of Entrepreneurs and LifeBlood Foundation.

Additional Alumni Profiles
Robert J. Morrissey
Lisa Bell Wilson
Aimee Bell
Major General Marcia Anderson
Maria Dzida
Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M.
Judge Jimmie Edwards
Robert G. Lahita, M.D., Ph.D.
John Beilein
Janet Napolitano
John Douglas Thompson

Quote of the week

“As a product of Catholic schools, continuing my education at a Jesuit institution was a logical part of my journey. The emphasis on using your talents and skills to improve the lives and conditions of others, rather than focusing on personal enrichment, resonated deeply with me. I truly believe that living my life in service of others - both personally and professionally - has allowed me to thrive in unimaginable ways.”
Major General Marcia Anderson, Creighton University '79

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Federal Relations

AJCU Federal Relations Network is the lobbying arm of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and comprised of at least one representative from each one of the twenty-eight Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The Network is kept up to date on an on-going basis by the Vice President for Federal Relations on all issues relating to Appropriations, budget, higher education authorization issues and taxes. The Network meets annually in September for a Legislative Conference and also participates in the Annual Committee for Education Funding Legislative Conference and Awards Dinner.
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AJCU Conferences

The 35+ Conferences sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) are affinity groups within the AJCU Network. The Conferences provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and best practices; support the professional development of their members; and present opportunities for AJCU representatives to discuss opportunities and challenges in Jesuit higher education. Most of the AJCU Conference groups meet in person at least once a year, and many of them communicate regularly through an AJCU listserv.
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International Outreach

The member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) are committed to developing programs and partnerships that advance international education and support initiatives that advance global citizenship.
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