If Bishop Bernard McQuaid had had his way, McQuaid Jesuit would now be more than 140 years old. As early as the late 1870’s, the first Bishop of Rochester (1868-1909) had tried to convince the Jesuits to found an institution of learning in his diocese. He’d admired them as teachers since his own student days at St. Joseph’s Seminary on the campus of Fordham University. However, during the bishop’s regular ad Limina visit to the pope in 1879, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning of London scuttled all hopes of a Jesuit high school in Rochester for at least a half century more.
It wasn’t until 1954 that Bishop McQuaid’s idea and hope of a Jesuit institution in Rochester would become a reality when McQuaid Jesuit High School opened its doors to 129 young men who exemplified the Jesuit ideal of leaders in service both personally and professionally.
Ground was broken for the 33-acre campus June 23, 1953, and the building was completed by September 1955. The total cost exceeded $2.5 million. While the new school was under construction, temporary quarters were found in the former St. Andrew’s Seminary building in Rochester. Here, the first class of McQuaid Jesuit (196 students) was admitted September 8, 1954. That group of young men, together with the new first year class, started the school’s second year in the current complex September 7, 1955.
In 1967, McQuaid opened its doors to eighth graders; in 1993 to seventh graders; and in 2012 to sixth graders.
McQuaid Jesuit has been in continual operation since 1954, and continues to thrive today as a Jesuit, Catholic, independent college preparatory school.