- SLUH Archive
FROM THE ARCHIVE
by Terry Donohue ‘63
For the last four years, I have spent one day every week working with seven of my Class of ’63 classmates to preserve the history of SLUH with a professional archive collection. The project started as a first step in the creation of a book commemorating the school’s bicentennial in 2018 – but it evolved into a much larger vision to preserve SLUH’s legacy.
As we initially accumulated documents and artifacts from within the school, alumni and their relatives began to turn over their SLUH keepsakes to share treasured memories. At the same time several of these same individuals asked us to help them locate academic, athletic and participatory activity records and pictures of their relatives, which in many cases we have been able to provide. SLUH had such a lasting impression on their relative’s lives that they wanted to, in some way, relive that experience.
This whole experience continues to have a profound impact on my understanding of the Ignatian influence on all of us who were fortunate to attend SLUH.
One particular request for information from an alumnus caused me to reflect further on what the formative phrase “Men for Others” was really all about – in addition to realizing the power of the school archive. The common theme behind “Men for Others” is graduates committed to doing justice in the service of creating a better world. But I think this goes even further. SLUH students are not only shaped to do justice in the world, but they are also infused with a spirit to be men for each other – in the classroom, in athletics, in carrying out God’s mission in their life.
This particular alumnus, who graduated in the late 1950’s, approached the school with a request to find the benefactor for a two-year full scholarship he received. His intention, later fulfilled, was to “pay back” the scholarship endowment from which he benefited. The archive committee was able to locate a scholarship ledger that Fr. Gerald Sheahan, SJ (SLUH Principal, 1955-67) had accumulated from years of bookkeeping and correspondence. This allowed us to deliver the requested information that resulted in a grateful alumnus providing scholarship funding for needy students. This alumnus was anxious to share the spirit of a transformative experience with future generations – a man for other SLUH generations.
The spirit we absorbed as we were formed into young men at SLUH lives on forever. Reflecting on this, I wonder:
- Why did that alumnus carry that scholarship memory with him all those years?
- Why do alumni give so generously of their time and resources in support of our school?
- Why do my classmates do acts of kindness for one another (in one instance rescuing a fellow classmate from unhealthy living conditions to settle him into a comfortable assisted living arrangement)?
The answer: Men for each other!
We hope that the SLUH Archive will not only capture the formative documents and artifacts that accompanied that spirit, but also be able to share it with inquisitive minds who seek memories, inspiration or education. To that end, we ask alumni, students, and current and former faculty and staff consider sharing their documents, artifacts and inspiring stories with us to help us compile our legacy for others to cherish.
>>> To learn more about the SLUH Archive Committee, visit www.sluh.org/archive
Order Your Commemorative Book!
From a bishop’s vision for a school in a muddy river town in the early 19th century to a flagship institution for education and faith formation today, SLUH has lived an epic journey. To commemorate this 200-year odyssey the school published To God, with Gratitude by Frank Kovarik ‘94, a magnificent coffee-table book filled with hundreds of fascinating stories and seldom-seen images. The narrative reveals painful trials—like the near closing of the school in the 1820s—and glorious triumphs—like Anna F. Backer’s teaming with the Jesuits to build a stand-alone campus. To God, with Gratitude offers the most complete history of SLUH ever assembled and is sure to captivate those whose lives have been touched by it.
>>> To order your copy, visit www.sluh.org/bicentennial/book