In the Book of Ecclesiasticus, we read: "Whoever possesses wisdom will inherit honor,
and wherever he walks the Lord will bless him. Those who serve her minister to the Holy One, and the Lord loves those who love her." Today we honor a teacher, mentor, and priest, who has indeed been a lover and minister of wisdom among us:
Reverend William J. McGrath, S.J.
Born in his beloved Philadelphia within the shadow of the Gesu Church, Father McGrath entered the Society of Jesus in 1946, after graduating from Saint Joseph's Prep. He was ordained a priest in June of 1959, after completing his degrees in philosophy and theology. Prior to his ordination he taught for three years at Georgetown Preparatory School. As a young priest he was among the group of Jesuits who founded the Bishop's Latin School in Pittsburgh and he served there for 12 years. In 1973, Father McGrath came to Scranton Prep and has instructed hundreds of young men and women during these years. He has become a legend at Prep and a respected member of the local community. This year marked Father McGrath's 50th year in the classroom, and he concludes his teaching career at Scranton Prep with service of 35 years, making him the longest-serving Jesuit faculty member in the history of our school.
Throughout his many years in the classroom, Father McGrath has inspired generations of students. His unique teaching style has helped students master the intricacies of the Latin language in creative ways. Stories and anecdotes and memory aids are all used effectively in his classroom. Penelope, Cuthbert and Bertha have become old friends. Latin "jug", "radiator row", and "loafers' lane" have become part of our Prep vocabulary. Stories about former students, his childhood, the Irish, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Bing Crosby have all been used masterfully in his teaching.
Cicero once wrote, "What nobler gift, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation." Today we honor a man who has been a treasured gift to us and who has instructed rising generations with care and generosity for fifty years. We honor a true teacher and a wonderful Jesuit priest who has served God and His people with utmost fidelity in the forum of a classroom for these many years.
Today we proudly acknowledge the example of this outstanding Jesuit teacher; a man of faith and a seeker of wisdom, and we confer upon him our highest honor
THE IGNATIAN AWARD
In formal testimony whereof, these present letters patent have been duly issued under our hand, in academic convocation at the Scranton Preparatory School, the first day of June, in the year of Our Lord, 2008.
Chairman, Board of TrusteesPresident
Fr. McGrath, S.J. at the Bishop's Latin School.
Fr. McGrath, S.J. at Scranton Prep.
Fr. McGrath, S.J. received The John Cardinal Wright Award at the Bishop's Latin School Alumni Association's
Vocations Mass and Awards Dinner, October 24th, 2004.
Fr. McGrath receives Ignatian Award from Scranton Prep.
Fr. McGrath, S.J. at the Bishop's Latin School Awards Dinner.