Our Jesuit Tradition

As a Jesuit college preparatory high school, Fairfield Prep shares a rich heritage of more than 450 years stretching back to the life and religious experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

It is part of a world-wide network of educational institutions that embrace and carry out the Jesuit mission of educating young men and women to be leaders in every aspect of contemporary society.

What makes Prep a Jesuit school?

  • Fairfield Prep is a member of a global network of schools renowned for their commitment to academic excellence and promoting a faith oriented by service and social justice.
  • The members of Prep's faculty believe in and are deeply committed to the school's Jesuit mission. All teachers share Prep's sense of mission, of leading young men to a deeper realization of God's role in their lives, regardless of each student's faith background or commitment.
  • At Prep, the learning that takes place is characterized by thoroughness and a desire for excellence; students are given learning skills that will last a lifetime.
  • Students are led to find God in their world. Through the retreat experiences that Prep offers they strive to discover God in themselves and in the lives of those around them and gain new perspectives on their relationships with God.
  • Students are given opportunities to serve those in need in their communities and beyond. Thus, they are helped to see the relationship between this service and the call of the Church in our world. 

Our History

The College Prep School on the Hill

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.

Growing Enrollment

The founding Jesuits were members of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, headquartered in the Boston area. To facilitate the establishment of a new school, they brought with them materials they had at hand, and in fact a picture of Fairfield Prep's first baseball team depicts its players wearing Boston College High School uniforms.

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.

Berchmans & Xavier

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 University offices).

Prep Today & Into The Future

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.