Redefining Jesuit Education: 1970-1979

The 1970s saw SI complete its first decade at its brand new campus at 2001 37th Avenue, built atop some of the last inland sand dunes San Franciscans would ever see. Rising from the grains was a modern facility and a new name — St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Inside the new buildings, tensions flared amongst the faculty as the dynamics of the times played themselves out between the older and younger teachers. The decade saw several changes in leadership with no fewer than four presidents and two principals trying to steer the Good Ship SI into calmer waters.

Students continued excelling at classes and extracurriculars. Peter Devine ’66 joined the faculty in 1976 and began a remarkable 25-year run directing 100 plays. Inside SI faded from sight, replaced by a series of newspapers, and students found new homes in the various ethnic clubs that were outgrowths of the Civil Rights movement.

SI was changing in a more profound way, too, as Jesuit schools all over the U.S. reexamined their mission. In a remarkable document called “The Preamble,” Jesuits and lay teachers redefined Jesuit education for a modern world. At SI, that meant the creation of the Community Service Program, Sunday Night Liturgies, SI Outbound and Christian Life Communities (CLCs).

In athletics, SI dominated in track and field, with coach Terry Ward ’63 and his boys taking the league championship seven times. Under Coach Luis Sagastume, the soccer team prevailed, winning league crowns three times, and the golf team locked up league honors from 1977 to 1979. The basketball team generated the most excitement by also taking laurels three times and coming close to being NorCal Champs. While the football team did not win a championship, it captured the hearts and minds of many Wildcats with several outstanding seasons under coaches Tom Kennedy ’63, Jim McDonald ’55 and Gil Haskell ’61.

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