• Founder of the Society of Jesus

      St. Ignatius Loyola

      Founder of the Society of Jesus

Walsh Jesuit Alma Mater
-Music and lyrics by Zachary Gustafson (‘96)

Walsh Jesuit, alma mater, we raise our voice to thee;
Thy cross and crown above us shine to guide us faithfully.
With a warrior’s heart and spirit, and Heaven’s grace untold,
May we be worthy of thy mission, fit to wear the maroon and gold.

OUR HISTORY

Walsh Jesuit High School was funded by a generous gift from the late Cornelius and Jane Walsh. Cornelius Walsh was born in 1864 and lived his entire life in Cuyahoga Falls, where he was a prominent industrialist and Catholic layman.  When Cornelius Walsh passed away in 1932, he bequeathed his entire fortune to his wife, who continued to donate generously to the Catholic Church.
 
In 1943, Jane Walsh worked with her nephew, William A. Walsh, to design her will, which included a large sum of money for a Catholic high school to be built. William Walsh was partial to the Jesuits. He convinced his Aunt Jane to bequeath to the Society of Jesus her property and $100,000 for the building of an all-boys school that would be a memorial to her husband.  William Walsh approached the Chicago Province of the Jesuits, but the gift lay dormant for years.  
 
In 1959, the original offer made by the Walsh family was found during a transfer of files from the Chicago Province to the Detroit Province. At almost the same time, Fr. McGrail, Provincial of the Detroit Province, received a phone call from William Walsh who urged him to reconsider the proposal made in his Aunt Jane's will. Under William Walsh's stewardship, her gift had grown to nearly $2 million. Using the gift from Cornelius and Jane Walsh (to which the Cleveland Catholic Diocese added $1 million) 50 acres were purchased from the Conway family, with an additional 50 acres purchased later to establish where Walsh Jesuit would be built.

Jane Walsh passed away in July 1963 at age 89, about 24 months before Walsh Jesuit opened. She knew, however, that plans were under way for the school because Fr. McGrail (who would become the school’s seventh president) visited her often. Unfortunately, she did not live long enough to see the completed memorial to her husband.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Walsh Jesuit took place in 1964, and the school opened its doors to 153 freshmen on September 7, 1965. The school was dedicated in May 1966, and the first class graduated in 1969.

Fast forward to the 2020-2021 school year, the enrollment in grades nine through twelve is 982 students (50/50 female/male split).  The Walsh Jesuit 110 acre campus features five outdoor athletic fields, a 5,000 meter cross country track, a 1,600 seat gymnasium, a field house, wrestling room, a newly renovated kitchen giving it more of a college-like atmosphere, and an All Sports Complex - the renovated 53 year old stadium.
Jesuit Tradition
Born in 1491, Ignatius was the youngest of 13 children in the noble Basque family of Loyola, Spain. At the age of 26, he was serving as a soldier and defending the town of Pamplona against the French when a cannonball shattered his leg. He experienced a dramatic religious conversion when, during his long and difficult period of recovery, he read books on the life of Christ and found himself drawn away from thoughts of chivalry and warfare and toward the idea of serving Christ.

After his wounds healed, Ignatius attempted a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but stopped in Manresa, Spain, where he spent nearly a year reflecting on his life. Ultimately, Ignatius experienced a great enlightenment and devoted himself to serving God and others.

Realizing that an excellent education was necessary in order to fulfill his goal of working for Christ and the Catholic Church, Ignatius returned to school, studying Latin and theology. During this time he wrote a manual of spiritual direction called the Spiritual Exercises. Through sharing the Exercises, he gathered about him a group of companions who shared his love for God and zeal for service. These “friends of Jesus” became the first Jesuits and quickly responded to the needs of the Church through mission work, pastoral ministry, and education.
The new religious order was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 and was called the Society of Jesus. Today, the Society of Jesus is the Catholic Church’s largest religious order, with more than 20,000 members worldwide.
Although not originally founded to operate schools, the Jesuits responded to numerous requests for places of learning and observed that educating young men enabled them to make a more generous response in the service of God and fellow man. Thus, the Jesuits came to value education as an effective way to advance the Kingdom of God and became the first religious order in the Catholic Church to engage in education as a major ministry.
 
The early years of Jesuit education led in 1599 to the establishment of a plan of studies, the Ratio Studiorum, which shaped a network of Jesuit schools, colleges, and universities that today serves more than 1.5 million students worldwide.

St. Ignatius knew that education involved more than a simple memorization of what is familiar. Under the guidance of his or her teachers, a student must be broadened by new ideas. And the end of Jesuit education is to produce graduates committed to fostering a society in balance with God’s intentions for humanity.

The Jesuit motto of Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam means “For the Greater Glory of God” and reflects Walsh Jesuit’s heritage. Often abbreviated as AMDG, the phrase reflects a Jesuit school’s desire to better serve God and God’s purposes by leading students to see not only their own dignity but the dignity of all humans.

Come join us at Walsh Jesuit High School, where we strive to do all things AMDG!