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Mission and History


Founded in 1847, Xavier High School is an academically rigorous, Catholic, Jesuit, college preparatory school in New York City that educates intelligent, motivated young men of diverse backgrounds and means. Xavier teaches students to take responsibility for their lives, to lead with integrity, to act justly in service of others, to pursue excellence in every endeavor and to deepen their relationship with God. Ultimately, Xavier forms young men who will go forth to transform the world for God’s greater glory.


Ever since St. Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540, education has been one of the Jesuits' chief apostolates.

In the United States, the Jesuit educational tradition can be traced to the arrival of Jesuits with Lord Baltimore’s colonists in 1634. The oldest surviving Jesuit institution of learning in the U.S., Georgetown University, was founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C.

What was to become Fordham University opened in 1841 and was placed under the direction of the Jesuits in 1846. It was a member of that community, Fr. John Larkin, S.J., who in 1847 traveled to Lower Manhattan to found Xavier. The Regents of the University of the State of New York chartered Xavier in 1861.

In 1886, the military department was established under the direction of the National Guard, beginning a lasting military heritage that continues to thrive today. 1897 saw the class systems reorganized to complete the break between college and high school departments. In 1912, the college was closed, and full emphasis was placed on secondary education. The enrollment was 338 at that time. With the National Defense Act of 1916, the Congress of the United States created a Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program and authorized the establishment of Junior ROTC units at secondary schools that would offer a course of military training for a minimum of three academic years. In 1935 Xavier’s military program became a JROTC unit.

In 1968, Xavier was raised to the status of a military institute, offering four years of military science and training. Graduates were then eligible for two years credit towards Senior ROTC advancement and one honor cadet could be nominated for each of the major service academies. The JROTC program became optional for students in 1971.

Today, Xavier High School holds memberships in the Jesuit Schools Network, the National Association of Independent Schools, National Catholic Education Association, and the New York State Association of Independent Schools. It is part of the USA East Province, which oversees schools from Maine to Georgia, and one of 87 secondary and pre-secondary schools in the United States and Canada.