The St. Joseph’s Prep Board of Trustees named Rev. John W. Swope, S.J., as the school’s 32nd President. He succeeds Rev. George W. Bur, S.J., who stepped down in June after seven years at the helm of his alma mater. Fr. Swope was installed September 8, 2015 as part of the school’s annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, which has been a Jesuit tradition for more than 400 years.
The Prep's four Jesuits (l-r: Fr. John Swope, SJ '72; Br. Bob Carson, SJ; Fr. Steve Surovick, SJ; and Mr. Adam Rosinski, SJ) with their vow crucifix.
Fr. Swope, a 1972 graduate of St. Joes Prep, comes to the Prep having served as Founding President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore since 2006. There, he helped establish the school, which brings high-quality Jesuit education to families who might not otherwise have the opportunity to send their children to private school. Indeed, the school has become a wonderful resource for families from Baltimore City’s most under-served neighborhoods, and as the school’s Founding President, Fr. Swope worked closely with benefactors, community leaders, corporations and foundations to help set the school on a firm footing. And it is – nearly all Cristo Rey Jesuit students become first generation college students, and 100% have been accepted into college.
Fr. Swope has held many positions, both in the U.S. and in Chile. Before his tenure at Cristo Rey Baltimore, he spent four years (2002-06) as Executive Assistant to the Provincial of the Maryland Jesuits and two years (2000-02) as the Executive Director of the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served for seven years in Chile, working as Director of Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Educación in Santiago and as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Policy and the Institute of Sociology at the Catholic University of Chile.
Three past Prep Presidents were in attendance to honor the installation of new President Fr. John Swope, SJ '72 (second from left): (l-r) Fr. George Bur, SJ '59, Fr. Bill Byron, S.J. '45 and Fr. Milt Jordan.
“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to be the next President of St. Joseph’s Prep and to continue the legacy that has stretched over 160-plus years,” says Fr. Swope. “I believe that the Prep occupies a unique place among independent boys’ schools in the Philadelphia area and offers families an outstanding, Catholic, Jesuit college prep education for their sons. I look forward to working with the Prep’s talented faculty and staff to educate men of conscience, competence and compassion.”
Fr. Swope holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of London, Licentiate in Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from the Weston School of Theology, and he is a graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre. He served as a Trustee at St. Joseph’s Prep, Saint Joseph’s University, Loyola Blakefield in Baltimore and Cristo Rey Philadelphia. Fr. Swope is a native of Drexel Hill who joined the Society of Jesus in 1976.