As part of a worldwide effort by the Society of Jesus to put an indelible Jesuit stamp on its secondary schools and, at the same time, to invite lay people to help run these schools, SI changed in 1998 the make-up and role of its two governing bodies — the Board of Trustees (the ownership body, which oversees the president) and the Board of Regents (which oversees matters pertaining to the principal and his staff).
This change came as a result of the 34th General Congregation — a worldwide gathering of Jesuits — that took place in 1995. At that meeting, the Jesuit delegates, together with Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, emphasized the importance of maintaining the Jesuit character of the order’s high schools and increasing cooperation with laity. Fr. John Privett, SJ, the head of the California Province at the time, asked the administrators at SI and the other four schools in California and Arizona to consider these priorities in the make-up of their boards of trustees. Toward that end, SI’s four-man Board of Trustees voted May 12, 1998, to expand to include lay people.
The board, as of 2005, includes Fr. Thomas O’Neill, SJ ’74, as chairman, and Fr. Harry Carlin, SJ, Fr. Michael Gilson, SJ, Fr. Anthony P. Sauer, SJ, and Fr. Michael Turnacliff, SJ, as well as two past regent chairmen — Martin D. “Pete” Murphy and John Christen — and Board of Regents Chairman, Mark Cleary. Fr. Greg Goethals, SJ, who had served on the board since its inception, left the board when he went on sabbatical in 2005.
Before the change, Fr. Kolvenbach voiced his support of the new trustees. “I commend you,” he wrote, “for this move towards a greater involvement of lay people in this dimension of our schools.” The formation of a Board of Trustees did not in any way diminish the necessary work of the Board of Regents with its myriad committees on which the school’s operations depend.