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USF mourns former president Jesuit Father John Lo Schiavo

May 22, 2015

Former University of San Francisco president, Jesuit Father John Lo Schiavo, died May 15 at his community’s Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos. The priest was 90 years old and entered the Society of Jesus in 1942.

Father Lo Schiavo was born in San Francisco and graduated from Star of the Sea School and the Jesuits’ St. Ignatius College Preparatory. He held undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy from the Jesuits’ Gonzaga University.

Father Lo Schiavo had a 65-year relationship with USF that began in 1950 as an instructor of philosophy. He later would serve in roles including dean of students and vice president of student affairs before being named the school’s 25th president in 1977. He served in the post until 1991.

During his administration, USF added a wing to the law school’s Kendrick Hall and purchased the Lone Mountain College property, now home to the Jesuits’ Loyola House, and was pivotal in funds raised for USF’s Koret Health and Recreation Center in 1989.

Academic programs developed during Father Lo Schiavo’s presidency, included hospitality management, Judaic studies, Asia Pacific studies, sports management, and nonprofit organizational management. He initiated the development of the USF Center for the Pacific Rim.

Father Lo Schiavo became USF’s chancellor on his stepping down as president in 1991 and was a significant leader in alumni relations and fundraising. The John Lo Schiavo, S.J., Center for Science and Innovation, which opened in 2013, is a high-tech facility with state-of-the-art science laboratories in the heart of the campus. “It is a lasting memorial to one of the university’s greatest leaders,” USF said in a statement.

“As iconic to San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge, Father Lo, as he was affectionately known, was gracious, funny, with a knack for naturally connecting with people,” USF said. “He touched more lives than anyone in USF’s storied history, presiding over countless funerals, baptisms, and marriages for generations of San Franciscans, saying Mass regularly for the Carmelite nuns, and golfing with civic leaders and friends.”

USF’s Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award has been named in Father Lo Schiavo’s honor. “Future recipients of the John Lo Schiavo Lifetime Achievement Award will be individuals who exemplify the Jesuit ideals of courage, integrity, and selflessness and have acted on their convictions for the benefit of others irrespective of personal sacrifice,” USF said.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated May 26, at St. Ignatius Church, Parker at Fulton streets, San Francisco, at 11 a.m.

Contributions may be made to the John Lo Schiavo, S.J., Endowed Scholarship Fund at www.usfca.edu/frloor by calling USF’s Office of Annual and Special Giving at (415) 422-6638.

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