Institute Staff

Profile Pic 3Dr. Jared Ortiz, Executive Director and Co-Founder

Dr. Ortiz hails from Hopewell Junction, New York where he was a wayward and impious youth. He entered the University of Chicago in 1996 as a confused agnostic and through the reading of Great Books he slowly returned to his childhood faith. After college, he spent two years living in a faith-based community in voluntary poverty while teaching in an inner-city Chicago Catholic school. He left Chicago to pursue a Masters degree in Liberal Arts from the St. John’s College Graduate Institute. He went on to study Patristics at the Catholic University of America where he received an MA and a PhD. He wrote his dissertation on creation, deification, and liturgy in St. Augustine’s Confessions. He is currently assistant professor of religion at Hope College. He is happily married to Rhonda, a writer, with whom he has three mischievous children: Benedict, Miriam, and Joseph.


Dr. Jack Mulder, Assistant Director and Co-Founder

Dr. Mulder is a native of Grand Rapids and a Hope College alumnus.  He studied Philosophy and Religion at Hope College before pursuing an MA and PhD in Philosophy at Purdue University where he wrote his dissertation on Kierkegaard.  Dr. Mulder was received into the Catholic Church while at graduate school.  He is author of several books, including Kierkegaard and the Catholic Tradition as well as the forthcoming Imagining Catholicism.  Currently, he is chair and associate professor in the Philosophy Department at Hope College.  He is happily married to Melissa, an instructor in Spanish at Hope, and father to two adorable children, Luke and Maria.


Brian Piecuch, Development Director and Program Coordinator

After graduating from Wartburg College in 1983, he served for 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica working with “campesinos” practicing subsistence farming. This experience reoriented the path of his life to one of serving the needy both here and abroad. His overseas projects included a five year stint in the Central African Republic with Christian Blind Mission International, where he directed a rehabilitation center for the disabled and helped launch a national program to control River Blindness. Afterwards he spent a decade in Peru with Medical Ministry International (MMI), building and directing a national team that hosts volunteer medical teams while overseeing MMI’s ongoing field work in 23 other countries. Most recently, Brian worked for Catholic for the Common Good where he helped to run a ministry committed to the evangelization of culture, especially in the areas of family and marriage. Brian and his wife of 26 years, Carmen, are the proud parents of five children, who range in age from 9 to 23. For the past 4 years, they have worshiped at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Holland.