Stanyan St. Meets Haight & Ashbury: 1960-1969

In some ways, SI was an island of conservative, traditional values while the changes taking place in San Francisco during the 1960s roiled around it. In other ways, SI was forever changed by those forces of Vatican II, the Civil Rights movement, the protests against the war in Vietnam, and the Summer of Love. Those changes did not evidence themselves so much at SI in the 1960s, but took root, nonetheless, and flowered in the 1970s.

The decade can be summarized by sports, spirituality and school relocation. The sports teams rose to new heights, and school spirit climbed with each success. The football team earned a first-place national ranking in 1962 and won five league championships, the last in the new West Catholic Athletic League after SI left the AAA. The baseball team brought home four league titles, and the basketball team won three championships. Some of the lesser known sports — golf (AAA champs in 1961) and cross country (league champs three times) also did well. The most successful sport, however, turned out to be swimming, which took AAA laurels seven times. In all, it was a golden age for SI athletics.

After Vatican II, SI began rethinking the nature of Jesuit education. In past decades, Jesuits shared their unique brand of spirituality mainly during the senior retreats. That started changing slowly in the 1960s as the idea of being “contemplatives in action” grew to encompass the sodalities (which morphed in the CLCs of the 1970s) and the good work they did throughout the city.

The biggest change came at the end of the decade, when SI moved quarters to its sixth campus, located in the sand dunes of the Sunset District. That move changed not only the location but also the name of the school as it christened itself St. Ignatius College Preparatory and set its sights on redefining itself as one of the nation’s premier prep schools.

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