When Saint Ignatius opened its doors in 1886, Grover Cleveland was President of the United States and George W. Gardner was the city of Cleveland’s Mayor. With a growing population of more than 250,000, the city was prosperous. Civic and industry leaders included John D. Rockefeller, Samuel Mather, John Hay and Mark Hanna. Steel mills and refineries dotted the landscape. The unskilled workforce toiling in these shops was comprised mostly of immigrants, many of whom were Catholic.
The first class of what was then St. Ignatius College (in the European educational tradition) included 76 students. By comparison, 331 will graduate as part of the class of 2011. Likewise, the campus has grown from the original 2-story building to 18 buildings and three athletic fields on 18.5 acres.
Throughout the years and among all the changes and evolutions, one essential element has remained constant: for 125 years, the goal of the school has been to form men of faith for the Church and the world.
Click to read the Plain Dealer's article highlighting the 125th anniversary
Students' stories of academic and spiritual growth continue to echo through the halls and are told through devoted Ignatius families. For more than a century, the Ignatius community has witnessed graduates' positive effect on the Church and the world. Our experiences of this place, whether as students, teachers, staff members, Jesuits, parents or friends, propel us forward into the next 125 years even as we stop to reflect on the past. This year, 375 new freshmen, the Class of 2015, will open a new era, both in their lives and in the life of our school. May Our Famed Alma Mater serve them well in faith; and one day, their sons and grandsons as well!
-Rev. William J. Murphy, S.J.