Jesuit Institutions Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

By Deanna I. Howes, Director of Communications, AJCU

As we near the end of the 2016-17 academic year, we want to share some highlights from four Jesuit institutions that are celebrating milestone anniversaries. Looking ahead, Saint Louis University (SLU) will be the next Jesuit institution to celebrate a milestone: on September 23, 2017, SLU will kick off its Bicentennial with a Mass under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO.

Fairfield University

Photo by Fairfield University

Photo by Fairfield University

In September 1941, the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT gave the New England Province of the Society of Jesus permission to establish a new Jesuit high school and college near the city of Bridgeport. Just six months later, in March 1942, the Fairfield College of St. Robert Bellarmine, Inc. purchased two adjoining estates in Fairfield, CT; shortly after, Fairfield College-Preparatory School was opened. In 1945, the state of Connecticut authorized by charter Fairfield University as a degree-granting institution.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Fairfield University is hosting a number of events that began in January 2017 and will conclude with an art exhibit in February 2018. A full list of events can be found on a new dedicated website, fairfield.edu/75. The website also features an interactive timeline of Fairfield's history, videos from 75th anniversary lectures, a social media board, and much more.

Fordham University

New York City's Empire State Building lit in maroon during the Fordham Founder's Dinner on March 27, 2017 (Photo by Fordham University)

As the fifth oldest Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States, Fordham University has educated tens of thousands of students from the greater New York region and beyond for 175 years. In 1841, Fordham was opened as a diocesan institution, St. John's College, by John Hughes, Archbishop of New York. Just five years later, the college was sold to the Society of Jesus, whose reputation for education was renowned across the Northeast. It was not until the early 20th century though (in 1907) that St. John's College was renamed Fordham University for its local surroundings in the Bronx.

Highlights of Fordham's 175th anniversary (known in Latin as a dodransbicentennial) include the annual Founder's Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street, the lighting of the Empire State Building in maroon, and the Sapientia et Doctrina lecture series. Visit fordham.edu/175 to learn more.

Seattle University

Seattle University 125th anniversary logo (Photo by Seattle University)

In response to a need for educational opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, the Society of Jesus founded the Immaculate Conception Church parish school in Seattle, WA in 1891. Seven years later, a charter from Washington state renamed the school as Seattle College. In 1948, (seventeen years after it began to admit women), Seattle College was renamed Seattle University. Now a comprehensive university, Seattle University continues to thrive in its 125th year.

A new interactive website (seattleu.edu/su125) features a number of commemorative events taking place this year including a lighting of the Seattle Space Needle in red, as well as posters, profiles of 125 students and alumni, and a video of a recent 125th anniversary lecture.

Campion College

As Canada's only undergraduate Jesuit institution of higher education, Campion College at the University of Regina enjoys a unique role. This year, Campion (an associate member of AJCU) is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of events including a lecture by Homeboy Industries founder Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., an online series of 100 stories of students, alumni and community members, and a 100th anniversary weekend in October 2017.

Campion also created a new logo to commemorate the Centennial. As seen here, the intersecting white "cs" in the zeroes stand for "Campion College" and represent the institution's Catholic identity. Named for St. Edmund Campion, the College was established in December 1917 to provide educational opportunities for youth in Saskatchewan. Currently, the College has 700 students and 20 full time-professors. To learn more about Campion, please click here.