December 31, 2014 — Jesuit Father John W. Swope has been named the 32nd president of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He succeeds Jesuit Father George W. Bur, who will step down in June 2015 after seven years at his alma mater.
After an extensive national search, Fr. Swope, a graduate of the Prep and of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was selected as president.
Fr. Swope holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of London. He has served as founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore since 2006. He helped establish the school, which brings high-quality Jesuit education to underserved families. Nearly all Cristo Rey Jesuit students become first generation college students, and 100 percent have been accepted into college. 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.
Before his work in Baltimore, Fr. Swope held several educational and administrative positions in the United States and Chile. He was executive director of the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2002.
“I am very excited by the executive capabilities that Fr. Swope brings to the Prep,” said Paul Geraghty, chairman of the board of St. Joseph's Prep. “We are thrilled to have his leadership and administrative expertise to build upon the Prep’s long-held mission of academic excellence and urban outreach, especially the more recent accomplishments made during Fr. Bur’s tenure. I know that Fr. Swope, as an alumnus and a Jesuit, believes in the mission of St. Joseph’s Prep and we look forward to him taking us to all-new heights.”
Fr. Swope, who has been a trustee at the Prep and at Saint Joseph's University, said he was "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." [Sources: St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Philadelphia Inquirer]