We have been blessed with so much – the great legacy of Ignatius and John Carroll, the commitment of a community since 1789, the imagination that built our present campus and our amazing facilities, the support of our families and friends, the dedication of our teachers and coaches and staff, and especially the vast diversity and talent of our students.
Rev. James R. Van Dyke, S.J.
Dear Friends of Georgetown Prep,
This academic year, we celebrate the 234th year since Archbishop John Carroll opened the doors of his Academy. It is always heartening to see our young men fill the walks of the quad and hallways. I am reminded once again how blessed and honored I am to be entrusted with the care of this, our nation’s oldest Catholic boys school and only Jesuit boarding school. I am also reminded what a wonderful work we endeavor here: forming young men to be men of competence, conscience, courage, and compassion; men of faith and men for-and-with others. Our shared mission is renewed with the start of each school year, and that is always exciting.
This year is particularly energizing as we open our new Campus Center and Residence Hall and the new William V. Bidwill ’49 Stadium at Historic Fegan-Galvin Field. These facilities will impact the life of each and every student here, providing a meeting place for our day and residential students, incorporating 16 faculty families into the life of the campus, creating first-class accommodations for our athletics programs and our fans, and strengthening our commitment to bring the best and the brightest not only from the DMV, but from all over the nation and the world. The commitment of our faculty and staff to be present to all our students, not only in the classroom but also across the broad spectrum of our activities and athletics programs, coupled with the uniquely rich diversity of our student body, shapes an unparalleled educational experience both within the Jesuit educational network and among our peer schools.
It is always a joy to witness our freshmen, this year the Class of 2026, encounter the culture of Georgetown Prep and begin to experience the camaraderie, brotherhood, and mutual support that are the hallmarks of this community. I often recall that Ignatius and his six early companions came from all over Southwestern Europe and, in a world marked by war and strife, formed a brotherhood of friendship that became the Society of Jesus. We fulfill that mission again, with our students coming from every background, and 14 states and 18 countries, as well as every neighborhood of the DC metro area.
So, with all this great energy we are very well positioned, I think, to undertake our “Year of Hope” as we reflect communally on the third of the Society of Jesus’ Universal Apostolic Preferences: the call to accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future. While this might seem like a “gimme” for a Jesuit school, and especially for one with such a strong sense of community as Prep, nonetheless it asks us, in the spirit of Ignatius, to look to the magis – the more – to understand not only how the adult community here at Prep can best support our students as they look to the future, but also to help our guys to see themselves as and to grow as agents of hope even now in a world that badly needs it. With the strength of our service and retreat and reflection programs, I am confident that this will be a wonderfully productive year for us all.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that the call to the magis is one that we as the Prep community ought especially heed: we have been blessed with so much – the great legacy of Ignatius and John Carroll, the commitment of a community since 1789, the imagination that built our present campus and our amazing facilities, the support of our families and friends, the dedication of our teachers and coaches and staff, and especially the vast diversity and talent of our students. So many gifts, so many blessings! Gratitude, true gratitude, is not just a feeling or a nice note; in truth it is a commitment to use those gifts, those blessings, well, in such a way that honors the giver, the one who has loved us.S St. Ignatius reminds us that “Love is shown in deeds more than words” (Spiritual Exercises, 230). The same is true of gratitude which, after all, is the response of love to love. I invite us all, then, to consider as we look at our world and its many needs, how we in our time and our place might respond out of the great gifts we have been given ad majorem Dei gloriam.
God bless, sincerely in Christ,