A legendary, charismatic Jesuit teacher and priest, Fr. Richard McCurdy, SJ, Principal at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in the early 1970’s, initiated an outreach to raise the funding available to increase the number of low-income minority students at the school.
Graduates of the St. Ignatius classes of ’55 and ’75 joined forces several years ago to contribute to the scholarship endowment at the school, specifically for assistance to qualified low-income minority students, to continue the promise of diversity and opportunity from which they themselves had benefited at their Alma Mater.
During each of the last two years SI distributed two and a quarter million dollars generated by the scholarship endowment for financial assistance to students, yet fell short by a million dollars to meet the increasing need.
Qualified low-income minority students from public, private, and Catholic elementary schools continue to apply for admission to St. Ignatius College Prep, in growing numbers. They are well-equipped for the rigorous demands of a Jesuit preparatory school curriculum. SI recognizes their ability, and is accepting them.
But the financial aid offers fall below the real and actual needs of many of these students. They are not rejected, they are not turned away, but the effect is the same. They are unable to attend the school they have chosen, for which they have arduously prepared, and which has accepted them, because financial aid for them is insufficient. The endowment model does not appear to be able to realistically meet the increasing demand for financial aid for the St. Ignatius student body.
During the last year, two alumni, Jerome Williams ’75 and William Hogan ’55, began discussing with some more recent graduates a direct assistance concept, which has now become The New Roads Education Fund. This “pay as you go” program proposes to provide immediate, sufficient, direct financial support to qualified, prepared low-income, minority students to allow them to attend St. Ignatius College Prep, now.
New Roads is born from frustration at the loss of proven talent unable to afford a Jesuit education in San Francisco, and is dedicated to immediate results, help for students enrolling at St. Ignatius this coming academic year. Now.
In an environment of income disparity, the best, quickest way to bridge the resulting opportunity gap is to unlock educational prospects. We envision a level of financial assistance for St. Ignatius College Prep applicants sufficient to support every qualified aspirant, regardless of economic need, and to insure that the student population at the school will reflect the income and ethnic diversity of the SF Bay Area.