||A Brief History
Saint Joseph's College seminary began as a part of Saint Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1898 where candidates for the Catholic priesthood were educated in a 12–year seminary program. Due to considerable expansion in the early part of the last century, Saint Joseph's College was built and opened as a separate school in 1924 in the foothills of Mountain View-Cupertino, California. The program included the four years of high school plus the first two years of college education, preparing candidates for admission to the major seminary at St. Patrick's.
The college was placed under the direction of the Sulpician Fathers, a society founded in Paris, France, and specially organized for training of aspirants to the priesthood. St. Joseph's grew to become one of the largest college seminaries in the United States. In 1968, St. Joseph's assumed responsibility for the four years of high school and four years of college. The high school program was discontinued in 1980. The Saint Joseph's College seminary became a part of the newly formed Diocese of San Jose in 1981. The seminary buildings were damaged beyond repair by the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. Students and faculty relocated to a commercial building in Santa Clara for a while, but the local bishop decided to close the college on June 30, 1991.
Alumni News and Events
NEWS FLASH: This year's Day of Recollection is on the horizon. It will be held on, Saturday, March 11, 2023, both in-person and by Zoom. Registration information is being sent out with the next newsletter.
The Director will be Rev. Matthew Leavy, OSB, of the Woodside Priory in
Portola Valley. He is the former long-time Abbot of St. Anselm’s Abbey in New
Hampshire. He is a gifted homilist. The theme of the Day will be a Lenten theme.
Here is a page with more information. (click here)
NEWS FLASH: Yes, another flash? The St. Joe's Alumni Association has chosen a mid-day program for Saturday, June 17th, for Alumni Day. We will start with Mass at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel and lunch will follow about noon in the Dining Room at St. Patrick's in Menlo Park.
This year we are celebrating the classes for:
1963 – 60 years Rhet
1968 – 55 years High School
1973 – 50 years College & High School
1978 – 45 years College & High School
1983 – 40 years College
Small committees of class captains have been formed, class student lists have been created, raffle gifts are being donated, our Sports Hall of Fame also have something planned for Alumni Day.
Alumni Day 2019 was a lot of fun. Check out this Rhet 1959 table. I interrupted their conversations just to click this single picture. This was their 60th year reunion. WOW! - A very happy time.
POP QUIZ: Where were you thirty-four years ago? On 10/17/1989 at 5:04 PM? Probably tuning in to game 1 of the World Series between S. F. and Oakland. On this same day, 30 years later, the Los Altos History Museum opened its doors to a new exhibit featuring the impact of the Loma Prieta earthquake upon this area - and the destruction of Saint Joseph's Seminary in particular.
Our Alumni Board (Don Carroll & Chuck Smith) worked with the exhibition curator Dr. Amy Noel Ellison in gathering materials. This museum is at 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA 94022. This is well worth a visit. I am not sure about the closing date for this exhibit.
Here are 3 old newspaper photographs of the earthquake damage. Bishop Pierre DuMaine and Fr. Cale Crowley are featured. (click here - BishopDuMaine)
The class celebration dates of our Alumni Days go back in time. The first Alumni Day occurred in 1981. See a really neat article (below) titled "A Brief History of the Alumni Association." It is an excellent summary of our 1981 to 2020 alumni group and our annual sponsored events (reunions, days of recollection, and more). Our student body and our Sulpician teachers date way back to 1920. So check out another slice of history (also below) titled "Tributes to our Sulpician Teachers." This four page document spans the years 1920 to 1994 in pictures with a yearly count of the number of students who have attended St. Joseph's school.
These efforts inspired me to do some archeological digging. Beginning last year, I reached way back in time, 80 years, - scanned and uploaded some historic St. Joseph's student school newsletters from our archives. November 1938 was the first, or at least the oldest one that I have. You will find this if you click on the The Newsletter (button) at the top of this home page. In honor of last year's 1959 class (60 years) I added "The Blow" (1959) and another Alumni Newsletter dated June 1940. For this coming alumni day I hope to upload some more old newsletters for the celebrating classes. A big "Thank you" goes to Pat Cloherty for discovering and preserving these wonderful relics.
In the same vein, but over on the Memoirs page (another button up at the top of this home page), I added 2 new books to our collection on this page: by Brian Cahill, R'60 and John Michael Sheehan, H'71. (Note: Brian also wrote an article in the 1959 "Blow" school newsletter --- also posted on this website).
The Saint Joseph's Sports Hall of Fame
Click here instead (a temporary detour) https://www.sjsemhof.org and enjoy browsing!
During our May 24, 2018 Alumni Board meeting, Mike Sheehan, H’71, proposed some of his ideas about a “Sports Hall of Fame” for our school. He described several of his thoughts and he received a unanimous approval from the board. His generation at St. Joe’s produced annual yearbooks, and Mike showed us a set of yearbooks that contain a lot of photographs and other useful information. Mike quickly put together a committee of volunteers and they have been on a roll.
On October 12th, 2019 the first annual St. Joseph High School/College Sports Hall of Fame was born. It was a rousing success. 63 outstanding coaches and athletes were honored. 108 athletes, coaches and family members attended.
The Hall of Fame planners created an 8 page outline for this event. Here is a quick glimpse of pages 1 and 2. (click here - IntroOutline)
If you have received Our Alumni Association spring 2020 newsletter, then you have a description of this event plus some excellent pictures by John Ravnik.
Thank you Mike! Thank you John! Great work!
A March meeting surprise
Our Alumni Board meets quarterly and our spring meeting usually occurs in March. We have noticed that something very unusual happens if per chance we select a date near, or on, St. Patrick’s Day. The best way, maybe the only way, to describe this apparition is to reveal it with a single photograph: (click here - March meeting photo)
Note: This photograph has been here on this web page since last Nov. 2018. One week ago, 2/28/2019, Bob Gorman died. So I have added a couple more pictures of Bob. When I receive his obituary, I will post it in the In Memoriam section of this website.
Tributes to our Sulpician teachers
4988 students were educated, influenced and inspired by the Sulpician Fathers at the Saint Joseph's Seminary College, 1920 - 1994. A 4 page tribute has been created in honor of our teachers. Using numerous photographs and a year-by-year enrollment summary, we show our appreciation for the work of these dedicated men. You will enjoy this document! To see this printable Sulpician historical tribute (click here - Sulp)
More tributes were written last year as the Sulpician Fathers moved away from California and St. Patricks Seminary/University. Rev. Ronald Witherup. PSS, the Superior General of the Sulpician Fathers, spent eleven years on the faculty of St. Patricks. He writes about his memories in his letter of adieu. (click here - Father Ron)
Father Gladstone Stevens, PSS, the President/Rector of St. Patrick's Seminary/University (2014 2017), speaks from his heart in this letter published in the Patrician magazine. (click here - Father Gladstone)
Father Roger Gustatson, speaks about his proud legacy as a graduate of St. Patrick's Seminary/University, (click here - Father Roger)
The prayer service and luncheon document is large (4 pages) and colorful (some great photographs). Since it is heavy with pixels, it might be a bit slower to open up than the other pages cited above. Enjoy! (click here - Patrician)
Bob Gorman loaned this 1952 picture to me to scan and add to our web site collection. To see the enlarged picture, and the names written on the back, (click here - 1952 Bears)
Many photographs were added to our website's Photo Gallery over the years. Click on the button at the top of this page and explore the various picture folders.
I have added some class graduation picture plates. I have scanned 5 years: 1951, 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1961. I placed this collection near the top of the Photo Gallery.
We now have approximately 950 total pictures in the Photo Gallery.
In additiion, there are many more photographs on other pages at this website. They reside behind the buttons, mouse clicks and locations waiting to be explored. Too many to count - except that I do know that the slide show (above) contains 37 pictures.
Annual Awards: Each year at our Alumni Day Reunion celebration, we honor one or two of our fellow alumni who have lived distinguished lives of service. Our Alumni Board spends a good chunk of time recommending and debating the possible candidates. We have kept a list of these honored individuals here at our website. This enables those folks who cannot attend the party to at least keep up with the news. We began this recognition in 2000, and it continues in the present. In 2019 the board decided to honor an alum who has given distinguished service to the Alumni Association. Then, due to the pandemic, no Alumni Day was held in 2020 and 2021, so no awards were presented.
To view this historical list of our honored Alumni of the Year and James P. Murphy awardees, just (click here)
Alumni Board Members
To see a complete list of our current board members (click here) or click on the "Message from our President" below.
This is a valuable resource for us former seminarians. SemNet is not an internet location or a website; It is an e-mail hub of activity. As its name states, it is a network - and a marvelous one too. Former classmates have been writing and distributing e-mail messages about their halcyon days at St. Joseph's on SemNet, plus some news and commentaries about current events. So, you don't go to SemNet; it comes to you (via e-mail). All you have to do is subscribe by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. He will want your class year, your team affiliation, and your laundry number. Easy!
History of the Alumni Association
A Brief History of the Alumni Association, by Don Carroll, R'58, was written to commemorate the 25th anniversary of our Association (click here to read this interesting story)
Sexual Abuse Statement
The Alumni Association Board has written a statement regarding sexual abuse and fairness for priests: (to see this statement, click here)
Other class websites
The class of 1961, while preparing for their Alumni Day celebration in 2011, gave us a beautiful artifact. Paul Feyen and his classmates constructed special website with memorabilia that all of us former students can enjoy. Just click here on: www.sjcrhetclass61.com and enjoy browsing!
Another interesting web site wase created by the class of 1957. This class also gathered some fascinating memorabilia from their years at Saint Joseph's College. This can be seen at www.sjc57.com
Two other classes, 1958 and 1962, once had websites. These no longer appear to be working. If I am wrong, will somebody please let me know? Thanks.
Video from 1961
I am experimenting with our school website being able to link into some video material. For starters, lets try these three. Each video should pop up in a separate window, which you can close when you are done viewing. Enjoy!
Greg McAllister, R'61 has sent a link to the class of 1961 reunion video. It is titled "The boys who would be Priests" and is delightful to view. Plus, it brings back plenty of memories. One side effect is that this video will cause some of us former students to ponder the the impact of seminary life upon our own journey. It runs about 14 minutes. Enjoy! Just click on: 1961 Class reunion video
Loma Prieta earthquake
Fr. Maurice O'Neil gives a tour of St. Joseph's College after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 destroyed our school. Mark Mosher, C'1983, sent this video in two parts. Click on: Fr. O'Neil tour, part 1 (15 minutes) and then Fr. O'Neil tour, part 2 (12 minutes) These videos provide a very detailed look at a lot of rooms in their damaged state, plus many exterior views too. Commentary is provided by Fr. Maurice O'Neil. It is kind of sad to watch, but you can certainly see how much Fr. O'Neil loved the place.
Thank you Greg, and thank you Mark! You two have inspired me to learn some new website stuff (videos).
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