McGrath confers diplomas to 518 Loyola Academy graduates as his presidency draws to a close
Our world needs you, Loyola Academy President the Rev. Patrick McGrath told the 518 members of the Class of 2022.
For 13 years the private high school in Wilmette has also needed him.
McGrath, moving on to become pastor at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago, delivered his 13th and final commencement address on May 21 at Northwestern University's Welsh-Ryan Arena. It was Loyola's 112th graduation ceremony.
"For almost 500 years, Jesuit education has been setting the world on fire," he told the graduating students, their guests and assembled Loyola faculty and officials.
"As it challenges generation after generation to open their minds and engage the grandeur of God's creation. This vision of Ignatius Loyola shapes the learning in Jesuit schools and makes it a distinctive and unique reality in the grand sweep of western civilization.
"In times of war and peace, prosperity and struggle, Jesuit schools have continued the holy quest of seeking God in our studies and opening our hearts and imaginations to God's call. Now, Ramblers, Class of 2022, you bear this tradition to the world -- this Jesuit way, our shared mission," McGrath said.
Valedictorian Peter Scheidt was part of a graduating class deep in honors students, including National Merit Finalists Morgan Baskfield, Mark Cruz Gonzalez, Matthew Griesmeyer, John Phillips, Amanda Rajkovich, and Scheidt.
All told, the Class of 2022 has selected 152 colleges and universities for their postsecondary education choices, according to the commencement program.
"Over these past four years through classes, retreats, athletics, cocurriculars, you have been formed in a unique way of seeing the world, a different way of proceeding," McGrath said in his address.
"You now share the company of generations of graduates of Jesuit schools, a wildly diverse group of people. You have learned the power of reflection and prayer. You've come to know, in some new way, the companionship of God.
"I'm confident that we have prepared you well for college and so much more. Our world is deeply in need of creative, committed, caring people of faith. The world needs reflective people who can think deeply, engage creatively and respond compassionately. Our world needs you.
"You have made us proud. We thank God for you. And we congratulate you, Class of 2022. Godspeed."
McGrath, who a few days later helped dedicate a Veterans' Memorial Wall outside of Sachs Stadium on Loyola's campus -- veteran Bob Miller, Loyola's vice president for advancement, noted that McGrath's father was a veteran himself -- was described as a visionary leader and gifted homilist.
He will be succeeded next month by Father Gregory Ostdiek as Loyola Academy's ninth school president.
During McGrath's tenure, Loyola achieved several landmarks. In 2019 it celebrated the opening of the John D. Norcross '54 Aquatic Center, and the Mary and L. Robert '61 Pasquesi Piazza.
This fall, the school will open a 29,000-square-foot Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Leemputte Family Theater.
Under McGrath's leadership, Loyola awarded $51.9 million in tuition assistance to 6,759 students and raised more than $117.2 million, including the completion of its Second Century Campaign. Loyola's most successful capital campaign in the school's history, the Second Century Campaign raised more than $76.8 million.
On May 21, McGrath conferred the last of the 6,463 diplomas he's extended to Loyola graduates.