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History of Fairfield Prep

McAuliffe Hall, the original location of Fairfield College Preparatory School.

Fairfield College Preparatory School was founded in 1942 by the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits had sought the permission of Rev. Maurice F. McAuliffe, bishop of Hartford (Connecticut was at that time one diocese) for the founding of a Catholic college preparatory school for boys in Connecticut, and His Excellency had assented not only to the request for a high school, but also to the establishment at a later time of a college linked to the new prep school (Fairfield University would open its doors in 1946).

The Jesuit Fathers were fortunate in that two adjoining estates in Fairfield were available for purchase, one belonging to the Lasher family and another to the Jennings family. The Jesuits bought both properties along with their respective mansions and merged them to create the new campus, renaming the Jennings mansion McAuliffe Hall in honor of the bishop and the Lasher mansion Bellarmine Hall in honor of St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J., the new school's patron saint.

Fairfield Prep quickly became a success as eager families sought to enroll their sons in what from the beginning was a selective program. Prep's enrollment quickly outgrew the space available in McAuliffe Hall and so plans were drawn up to build two new academic buildings. In the meantime, a temporary satellite campus at Seaside Park in Bridgeport was opened to accommodate the many boys enrolled at the Prep.

By the end of the forties Berchmans Hall and Xavier Hall were completed and hosted classes both for Prep and for newly opened Fairfield University. For more than thirty years Prep students attended classes in McAuliffe Hall, Berchmans Hall and parts of Xavier Hall, the latter shared with the University until campus construction in the eighties prompted the University to relinquish all but the basement level to the Prep, which thereupon moved out of McAuliffe Hall (which is now home to the University's School of Engineering).

There Prep remained, in Berchmans and Xavier Halls, until the first decade of the new millenium, when two new buldings were constructed, the Brissette Athletic Center and Pedro Arrupe Hall. The Fairfield Prep Enclave now consists of four interconnected buildings that afford our student body considerable ease of movement and first-class space for academics and extracurricular activities. And, due to our continued association with Fairfield University, present-day Prep students, just like their forebears, can utilize many of the University's top-rated facilities.

For a much more elaborate look at Prep, you can read and download below "75 Years of Excellence: A History of Fairfield College Preparatory School" by John W. Szablewicz.