125-Year Celebration & Community Service

In 1979, SI celebrated its 125-year anniversary with the coming of a new president, Fr. Anthony P. Sauer, SJ, who had taught at SI in the 1960s and early in the 1970s. In a report to the Board of Regents in his first year in office, Fr. Sauer noted that “our sense of community is strong at SI, but good feelings alone will not ensure excellence. If SI is to be more than a pleasant cocoon, if it is to have a lasting impact, and if it is to live up to its ideals of excellence and service, then it requires a rigorous commitment to high academic standards and to high moral and religious principles…. One of my highest priorities, therefore is a renewal of SI’s commitment to the Jesuit tradition of educating the leaders of society who will go forth to serve.”

He referred to the jubilee year by noting that “125 years ago, the wisdom and wealth of generous benefactors and the dedication of the Society of Jesus working with an equally devoted lay faculty built this Eucharistic haven by the Bay. Let us commit ourselves this afternoon to carry on the work so nobly begun in 1855 as we move into a new era for St. Ignatius College Preparatory in the City of San Francisco.”

To give flesh to those words, SI used the 125th anniversary to launch the Community Service Program (later renamed the Christian Service Program). In order to graduate, students, starting with the Class of 1981, would need to perform 100 hours of service “for those members of our human community who are disadvantaged by poverty, old age, poor health, discrimination or physical and mental handicaps,” wrote Art Cecchin ’63, SI’s first CSP director. This new requirement became an extension of the work done in past decades by the Sodalities, SI Outbound and the CLCs at the Little Sisters of the Poor, Laguna Honda Hospital and Helpers’ Home. Cecchin believed that “through the performance of service, the student gains a first-hand experiential knowledge of the inequities and injustices in society. Through [reflecting on these injustices] the student can contemplate and discuss the reasons for the existence of these injustices and is challenged to understand that Christ calls each of us to be a man for others.”11

SI commemorated the 125th anniversary in other ways. Fr. Sauer, Fr. Largan, Board of Regents Chairman Gene Lynch, Finance Chairman Hugh O’Donnell and senior class president Timothy P. Crudo ’80, along with San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, unveiled a plaque at The Emporium on Market Street, the site of the first school. (The 1955 plaque, placed on the Emporium façade for the centennial, was affixed to the new plaque.) The plaque, which will appear on the side of the new Bloomingdales when it opens, bears these words: “The original St. Ignatius College has developed into both the University of San Francisco and St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Placed in honor of their 125th year by both senior classes of 1980. October 15, 1979.” Bartley S. Durant, chairman of the Emporium, accepted the award on the behalf of the store, and Dr. Albert Shumate, a director of the California Society of Pioneers, spoke on the history of SI. Fr. Sauer also spoke on the importance of religion in the founding of educational institutions.

A month later, on November 13, SI held a grand celebration at Bimbo’s 365 Club with Harry James and his Big Band, featuring singer Phil Harris, organized by Ursula Marsten and Wolfgang Fliess. At the event, Fr. Carlin received the Key to the City, a plaque from the California Legislature, a proclamation from the Mayor’s Office and the Citizen of the Day Award from radio station KABL.