|Saint Ignatius College Preparatory School|
1076 West Roosevelt Road
|Motto||Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam|
(For the Greater Glory of God)
|Authority||Archdiocese of Chicago|
|Oversight||Society of Jesus|
|President||Fr. Michael Caruso, S.J.|
|Color(s)||Maroon and Gold|
|Athletics conference||Chicago Catholic League (b)|
Girls Catholic Athletic Conference
|Accreditation||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Tuition||$18,500 (2017-2018 school year)|
St. Ignatius College Prep
|Architectural style||Second Empire|
|NRHP reference #||77000480 |
|Added to NRHP||November 17, 1977|
|Designated CL||March 18, 1987|
Saint Ignatius College Prep is a selective private, coeducational Jesuit high school located in the Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The school was founded in Chicago in 1869 by Fr. Arnold Damen, S.J., a Dutch missionary to the United States. The school is coeducational, Catholic, college preparatory, and sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).
The school's main building was designed by the Canadian architect Toussaint Menard in the Second Empire architecture style. It is one of the five extant, public buildings in Chicago that predate the Great Fire of 1871. Its construction was begun in 1869, a fact commemorated on the school's façade. The main edifice is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a Chicago Landmark in March 1987. The 23 acre (93,0778 m²) campus is located on Chicago's Near West Side, adjacent to the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Features of the campus, besides the 1869 building, include the Richard H. Driehaus "1895" Building, the Chicago Walsh-Slattery Center, and the James and Genevieve McLaughlin Center. The latter features a 380-seat McLaughlin Theatre and "Bob Newhart" stage, with an interior modeled after still-extant, late 19th century Chicago theaters. The Grand Gallery on the fourth floor of the 1869 building features a marble plaque commemorating Saint Ignatius alumni who fought in the American wars. The richly paneled Brunswick Room, originally a natural history museum, holds a notable archive of the school's and city's history.
Saint Ignatius' curriculum includes literature, language, math, computer science, art and music, science, and religion.
Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year is $18,500; however, there is a $2,700 gap between the cost of education and tuition. Saint Ignatius students received over $2.5 million in need-based grants for 2009-2010; for the 2010-2011 year, Saint Ignatius was awarded roughly $2,690,000. Students who receive financial aid receive an average of $8,000. These are funded, primarily, through the school's fund-raising efforts and from its endowment's interest, but also by independent charities that offer special funding for minority students. Over 25% of enrolled students receive some financial aid. The remaining, actual cost to operate the school is funded largely from its development initiatives and endowment, including donations and grants from alumni, parents, and friends, along with foundations and businesses.
In 1837, the Dutch Jesuit Fr. Arnold Damen, S.J. (March 20, 1815, Leur, Netherlands - January 1, 1890, Omaha, Nebraska), was recruited to work with Native Americans in the Dakotas by Fr. Peter De Smet, S.J. In 1844 he was ordained a priest in Missouri. In 1857, Damen was first assigned to Chicago to start a parish for Irish immigrants on Chicago's near-West Side, then an area of sprawling prairie. Construction of Holy Family Church was completed in 1860.
During the 1860s, Fr. Damen, with the help of Jesuits in his community, developed five elementary schools for the children of his parish, now grown to about 25,000 people. It became clear that at least some of the children needed further education. And so Fr. Damen undertook to begin a secondary school and a college program for young men. At approximately the same time the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary began a secondary school for young women about five blocks away.
Supported by loans and many small gifts, construction of the main building of Saint Ignatius commenced in 1869, with designs by the Canadian architect Toussaint Menard. On June 30, 1870, the Illinois General Assembly approved the Charter of Saint Ignatius College, and in September 1870 Saint Ignatius opened its doors to thirty-seven young men who had completed the eighth grade, the extent of formal education offered in the area at the time. The College was to offer a six-year program, four years of it in the "Academy" and two more, as was often the custom then, in what is today called "collegiate studies."
Saint Ignatius was one of the first colleges in the Chicago area, predating the University of Chicago by 20 years and graduating its first class little more than a decade after Northwestern University did so. Students were instructed in Latin, Greek, the elementary sciences, writing, math, and rhetoric - the components of a traditional "college" education of the era.
In October 1871, disaster struck Chicago in the form of the Great Chicago Fire, but Damen's church and college were some of the buildings spared from the inferno, as the worst of the fire was blown northeast. Fr. Damen was away at the time and promised to keep a candle lit on the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the Church, in perpetuum, if the church was spared. The church was spared, and those candles, now electrified, still burn in Holy Family Church.
While Saint Ignatius continued to grow through the 1870s and 1880s, these were difficult years. Many of the original families had moved "up and out" of the neighborhood and, just a few blocks southeast, Polish and Russian Jewish families, new immigrants fleeing the pogroms in their countries, settled in the Maxwell Street area. Just to the north of the school, in the Taylor Street area, Greek and Italian families, fleeing the poverty and contention in their own countries, renewed the cycle of poverty in the area and increased the neighborhood's "foreignness."
There was the concern that Catholic families, having moved to other areas, would not send their boys to the school. And so a tentative outreach to the north, to the southwest corner of North Avenue and Ashland, was launched. Called St. Aloysius College, it had only a two-year life in a rented house. But since the Saint Ignatius neighborhood was becoming "tougher," so it was thought, there were still concerns about enrollment. In these days, there were about 250 young men in the six-year program.
Still, by 1894, the college's enrollment had expanded sufficiently to warrant the construction of a third building, which was completed in 1895. Just two years after the debut of electric power on a grand scale at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago, the trustees of Saint Ignatius were still cautious about the staying power of electricity. So the fixtures used in the new building were "transitional," offering both gas and electrical light. With the addition of this wing, the school-owned property was almost completely taken up, leaving only a small "play yard, surrounded by a wall, to its northeast."
It took a long while for the recent immigrants to the area to learn English and find work to support themselves in decency. Worries about enrollment in the secondary school continued and the decision was made to start a new secondary school in a more Catholic part of Chicago. This was the area northeast of Sheridan and Devon, in what was called Rogers Park. An out-going superior of the Jesuit Community at Saint Ignatius, Fr. Henry Dumbach, S.J., began that effort and Loyola Academy opened in 1907. The Jesuits were still not sure whether they were going to close Saint Ignatius and have Loyola Academy supplant it, or whether to keep both. In this mood of uncertainty, Saint Ignatius continued on.
By 1922, St. Ignatius College had become too large for its buildings, with the collegiate part of the school growing significantly. The school buildings on Roosevelt Road were hemmed around by Holy Family Church and Elementary School to the west, a neighborhood of homes to the north, and commercial establishments to its east.
So the Jesuits decided to separate the education of 14- to 18-year-old boys, continuing on Roosevelt Road, and the education of the older students into a separate, collegiate, now-four-year school that became Loyola University Chicago. This college program, and building of new school buildings and a residence for the Jesuits, was sited on the lake shore campus of Loyola Academy, where there was room to expand. To go along with the custom of the time, St. Ignatius Academy was renamed St. Ignatius High School.
The school continued its mission through the hard times of the War years, with many alumni participating and dying, and through the Depression. The academic standards and faith development of students continued strong and the school was filled to capacity, over 1,000 students, through the 1960s.
After World War I, the student body became much more diverse, with the sons of Italian families in the Taylor Street neighborhood coming in significant numbers, as did the sons of, especially, Central European families who had immigrated to the United States. These families were primarily of Lithuanian, Czech, and Polish origins. In the late 1930s, African-American families, living in the area in some number by this time, started to send their sons. After World War II, Mexican families were living south of the school, in the area called Pilsen. Their sons came. Except in the initial years, Saint Ignatius was never a neighborhood school. Students traveled from long distances to have a Jesuit education.
This principle of inclusiveness through the Depression and the next decades offered great value to the students, giving them the opportunity to become friends with young men of a great variety of backgrounds, socio-economically, racially, and ethnically. But it caused its own problems. With the exception of some Mothers' Club efforts, fund-raising was not in vogue then, or at least not taken up by the school in any formal way. Reduced tuitions for boys whose families could not pay were not made up for by donations from friends and alumni supporting those students. And so there was ever less money for building up-dates and repairs: deferred maintenance became the rule.
In the challenging times after Vatican II and the confusion of values in American stemming from the war in Vietnam, vocations to many religious orders, including the Jesuits, declined. So the schools that had been principally staffed by Jesuits hired talented lay people to take their places. While this offered new value and modeling to the students, it significantly increased school costs, due to salaries and benefits to-be-paid.
By the 1970s, Saint Ignatius' buildings had fallen into disrepair and the still-very-low tuitions charged, plus the financial aid offered, gave rise to borrowing money to pay salaries and offer day-to-day maintenance. The "word got around" and many became concerned that the school would close. With this a rumored possibility, enrollment declined. And so did morale.
Fund-raising initiatives begun in the 1970s, such as the "Walk for Ignatius" and annual benefits (the first headlined by Bob Hope in 1976), helped sustain the school's solvency. But it was still highly precarious.
At the same time, with academic standards still high, parents who had boys in the school asked why it did not admit their daughters. There was certainly room and it would be much easier for parents to have their children at one school rather than at two. Around that same time, a number of Catholic girls' schools in Chicago closed in similar financial distress. Thus some parents were having a hard time finding a challenging Catholic high school opportunity for their daughters. And, obviously, a higher enrollment would greatly boost the school's financial vitality.
In 1979, the school welcomed girls, many of the first of whom were sisters of boys currently enrolled. Parents' and students' enthusiasm for this created a very positive report. And so applications for entry climbed from 400 or so boys a year to over 800 boys and girls within two years. Tuition began to increase in more substantial amounts at this time, with the goal of having a balanced budget without short or long-term borrowing.
At this same time, a Board of Trustees was formed, made up of Jesuits and lay people, replacing the all-Jesuit board of the past. The school was separately incorporated from the local Jesuit community and from the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. Contemporary programs and processes were invoked.
The president of the school, while still a Jesuit missioned by his religious superior, became the employee of the Board of Trustees. With this highly significant change came new talents and perspectives to the school's governance. These, ultimately, saved the school.
In 1984, under new school leadership and under the direction of its Board of Trustees, the first of many capital campaigns was begun to improve salaries and benefits and to renovate the historic school buildings. There was a question at the time of whether to modernize the building, insofar as that was possible, and save money by routing mechanicals on the wall's surface, installing ready-made windows that would be bricked around to fill up the openings, etc. It would have been a savings, but an historic travesty. The choice taken was to restore the building to its original styles and decorative designs (see the virtual tour on the school's website).
That decision involved a complete re-roofing in slate, an extended re-working of the masonry, a rebuilding of the front porch and gutters, the building and installation of 493 windows, from 8' to 24' in height, according to the designs of the original windows (still in place at that time), a total re-wiring of the building, new and extended plumbing, new and extended labs, the installation of two new elevators, replacement of most wall surfaces, new heating and pipes, new dire-security systems, new wood flooring in many areas - and professional attention to replacing, in public areas, copies of the original gas-light fixtures. Layers of wall paint were scraped through to find the original colors and designs, and these were replicated. Along the way, it became possible to furnish public areas with antique furniture appropriate to the period, the generous gift of Mr. Richard Driehaus from his collection.
The successful campaign's goals included developing an endowment, as well as an annual campaign, to support financial aid. These efforts accomplished their purpose and added two more buildings (increasing the school buildings' total size from 130,000 to about 225,000 square feet), built in an historic style to complement the original buildings. In these efforts, Saint Ignatius became the most successful Catholic school, but also 6th among all schools in the nation, including private and boarding schools, in fund-raising.
In 1991, a decision was made to both help preserve Chicago's architectural past and to offer students references to Chicago's rich architectural history by developing a collection of iron, terracotta, stone and other-metal fragments removed in recent years from their demolished Chicago and Midwest structures. It has developed into a several-hundred piece collection, exhibited around the school buildings and outside, on the campus. Significant works from structures by Sullivan, Root, Burnham, and many others are included in, often, large scale pieces. The most significant object is the only remaining portion, 22 feet, of the terra-cotta cornice from Louis Sullivan's Chicago Stock Exchange, demolished in 1965.
Saint Ignatius competes in the Chicago Catholic League (CCL) and the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) which governs most sports and competitive activities in the state. The school's teams are stylized as the "Wolfpack".
The school sponsors interscholastic teams for young men and women in basketball, football, volleyball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and water polo. Young men may compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while young women may compete in cheerleading and softball. While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school also sponsors teams for young men in ice hockey and rugby, for young women in field hockey and dance. There is also a coed sailing team, and crew teams for both young men and women.
The only teams in recent memory to represent the school on the national level are the boys and girls crew teams, who compete at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America's National Championships on an annual basis. In 2010, at SRAAs in Saratoga Springs, New York, the boys junior 4+ took second-place. At the 2013 SRAA competition, the girls junior 4+ raced to a second-place finish.
In 2013, the women's water polo team became the first team in school history to win an IHSA state championship title.
In 2012, Jack Keelan '13 won the 3A IHSA State Cross Country Championship, becoming the 9th fastest runner in state history. In 2013, Keelan won the 3A 1600m and 3200m at the IHSA State Track and Field Championship.
The most recent state champion for St. Ignatius was Conor Dunham who won the 300m intermediate hurdles in 2014.
Tuesday A Man in the News article on Friday about Commerce Secretary William M. Daley misidentified the Chicago high school that he attended. (The error also appeared in a profile of Mr. Daley on Dec. 14, 1996.) It was St. Ignatius High School, now called Saint Ignatius College Prep, not De La Salle High School.
A 1947 graduate of the school, Muldoon will receive its 2000 Award of Excellence in the Field of Law ... Previous award recipients include former appellate justices Gino L. DiVito and Mel R. Jiganti, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, U.S. Secretary of Commerce William Daley ...
Driehaus grew up on the Southwest Side and graduated from Saint Ignatius College Prep and DePaul University.
Hobson grew up on the North Side as the youngest of six ... But her mother made sure Hobson had a good education, sending her to Saint Ignatius College Prep.
I remember Father Fergus, who taught me physics at St Ignatius, taking this childhood fascination and tying it to engineering.
Madigan was born into the then-fledgling Democratic politics of the 13th Ward ... he attended St. Adrian Elementary School and Saint Ignatius College Prep, then the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University law school.
I lived about eight blocks from Fenwick High School, but I rode the streetcar forty-five minutes to Saint Ignatius.