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Loyola School

A Brief History


On the morning of October 1, 1900, the Rev. Neil M. McKinnon, S.J. and the Rev. W.J. Ennis, S. J. welcomed a grand total of 8 pupils to Loyola School, a brand new College Preparatory School, founded to educate the sons of Catholic New Yorkers on the Upper Eastside on Manhattan.  Early school admissions documents describe the sort of graduate that the school would produce:

a well-rounded young man ready to take
his place in the world as a Catholic
adult and eager to meet whatever
challenges life may toss his way.

Thus, began the journey of Loyola's first students, faculty, and staff as they laid down the foundations of education, spirituality, and service that guide the School to this day.  

In the beginning, Loyola School had an upper and lower division that would be comparable to a Middle School and an Upper School, but it eventually evolved into a four- year High School. As a "collegiate preparatory school," the curriculum was academically rigorous and included offerings in:  Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Elocution, English rhetoric and literature, History, Christian Doctrine, and Physical Culture.  Upon graduation, applications to Catholic Colleges such as Georgetown, Fordham, and Holy Cross were the norm. In these early years the School's baseball, basketball, and speech teams were formed; activities that continue today.  Early Loyola graduates, such as James M. White demonstrated a sense of service to others and even received the "Croix de Guerre" from the government of France for his heroic efforts as an ambulance driver, transporting wounded soldiers from the battlefield at Verdun to the hospital during World War I.  

The School continued to grow and evolve throughout the 1920s through the 1950s.  In 1935, the Rev. Peter J. Daly came to Loyola as a teacher and would serve the School as Headmaster from 1949 to 1960.  One Loyola's most prestigious awards is named after Fr. Daly who is remembered not only for his fine service, but as a man who "dance a wild Charleston."  As America braced itself for the onslaught of World War II, Loyola answered the call to serve by becoming a military school from 1941 to 1951. In 1954, Loyola Alumnus and Rector, Rev. Robert I. Gannon procured the land adjacent to the school in order to build a new gymnasium, as well as the Jesuit residence, garden, and Missionary Office.  The 1960s and 1970s brought more changes as the first non-Jesuit Headmaster, Mr. Michael J. Guerra was appointed as Headmaster in 1968; Mr. Guerra would serve as Headmaster until 1982.   In 1973, Loyola School reached another milestone, as young women were now admitted into the School.  The ladies wasted no time in settling in and excelling academics as well as extracurricular activities.  As is noted in our School's Centennial History:

Another first in the history of Loyola School, and also in the centuries-old history of Jesuit Education, occurred when Loyola alumna Mary Gabriel Murphy ('77) graduated from Yale University and was chosen to receive an Oxford Rhodes scholarship.

Loyola would now have both sons and daughters to carry on its proud traditions.
No Loyola School History would be complete without mention of one of its most beloved members, the Rev. Eugene J. Prior, S.J, in whose New York Times Obituary was called: "Advocate, guide, spiritual leader, and friend, … the heart of the Loyola family." Fr. Prior first came to Loyola School in 1949, as a teacher and served the School until 1954. He returned to Loyola in 1962, serving a number of positions as he continued to be that "heart" of the Loyola community until his death in 2007.

Under the direction of Rev. James Fox, S. J., who led Loyola School from 1982 to 1995 as both President and Headmaster, Loyola School would continue to grow during the 1980s and 1990s. More scholarships were added, renovations to the physical plant occurred, computers were introduced, the Christian Service Program was expanded, and the beloved tradition of Loyola's KAIROS Retreat for Seniors was introduced in 1998.  Loyola's Service Programs expanded to include trips to West Virginia, Camden, New Jersey, and Belize. Now, as Loyola continues on in the 21st Century, all members of its community continue to work together to produce graduates who are "men and women for others "as we continue to embody the principles of Jesuit Education as are outline by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenback, S.J. (Superior of the Society of Jesus 1983-2008) as Loyola strives to send forth:

a well-rounded person who is intellectually competent,
open to growth, religious, loving, and
committed to doing justice in generous
service to the people of God.