Alumni & Friends Societies

Tolton Society

In anticipation of Fr. Augustus Tolton’s impending canonization, Saint Ignatius College Prep’s Claver Society will now be known as the Tolton Society. Art Reliford ’72 began the Claver Endowment which benefits our African American students in need of financial aid. The Endowment has grown exponentially over the past 10 years with the leadership of the Claver Society, led by Gerald S. McCarthy ’80. Dozens of alumni as well as friends of the school have also been instrumental in reaching the endowment’s current total of over $500,000.

Reverend Augustus Tolton, the first African American slave to be ordained a Catholic priest, paid a “short visit” to the Jesuits as he was beginning his public ministry. Tolton’s education in Rome where he was ordained in 1886 marked him as a rising star among clergymen in the United States. But the hostility he faced from priests in Quincy, Illinois prompted him to look north to Chicago where Arnold Damen, S.J., had founded Holy Family parish and St. Ignatius College. Tolton quickly discovered that the city did indeed offer “a larger and more progressive field” as he began raising funds for St. Monica Church at 36th and Dearborn on the South Side.

Among Chicago’s Catholics, Tolton found a warm welcome in the college at “Twelfth Street” and Blue Island Avenue where he was a guest of the Jesuits in 1893. The Chicago Inter-Ocean reminded its readers that he would preach at High Mass at Holy Family and, according to the Jesuit ledger preserved in the archives of SICP, Tolton appealed “at all the masses” on Sunday January 29, 1893.

The predominantly Irish congregation of Holy Family responded enthusiastically, donating $500 dollars (nearly $15,000 in 2019 dollars) toward the construction of St. Monica’s Church. Fr. Tolton never wavered in his belief that the Catholic Church “is the great institution that must break down the barriers of racial prejudice.” When he died suddenly in 1897 from heat stroke, thousands of Chicagoans—white and black—turned out to mourn him. So great were the crowds that came to his two-day wake that “policemen were detailed there to keep the surging mass of people moving and in line.”

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  • Tolton Society Annual Members

    as of 4.26.2019
    Valerie Barker Waller '83
    Jeri Bingham '85
    Antoniette Bordelon '04
    Judge William Boyd '70
    Dr. Eden Brandon '85
    Roland Burris II, '85
    Brian and Jeanette Conrad-Ellis
    Yvonne Davis
    Jetaun Davis Pope '98
    Elizabeth Donohue '88
    Barbara Dunlap '86
    Dawne Duparte '89
    Colette English Dixon
    Mary K. Garrett
    Kimberly Gladden
    Dr. Perpetua Goodall '93
    Sheila and Wallace Harris '83
    Alison Hennings Tanner '83
    Darrell and Anisha Hill '87
    Kara Holloway '87
    Samuel Jackson III '05
    Cherya Jenkins
    Tracy Jones '81
    Hon. Kimberly Lewis '88
    Patrice Louis '04
    Lori Lypson '93
    Kimberly Mason '85
    James Miller '92
    Dale and Shadawn Morrison
    John and Sandra Pikarski
    Carr and Marcia Preston
    Christine Riley '93
    Jacquelyn Robinson
    Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer '81
    Patrick Scott '87
    Nicoline and Thomas Shields '59
    Anthony Spalla
    Phillip Sutton '78
    Hon. Anthony Swanagan '77
    Pamela Valderrama
    Dennis and Kellie Welsh
    Jacqueline White
    Curtrice White Scott '90
    Allison and Darrell Williams '77
    Erin Toole Williams '87
    Tanya Woods
    Dr. Carol Worsham-Perry

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  • Tolton Society Lifetime Members

    Gloria and Alvin Bell
    Felicia Bell ‘96
    Monique Bell ‘99
    Danielle Bell ‘03
    Willard Evans, Jr. '73
    Maria Green and Oswald Lewis
    Rashod Johnson ‘93
    Gerald S. McCarthy ‘80
    Malik Murray ‘92
    Carol and Arthur Reliford Sr. ‘72
    Elisa and Arthur Reliford Jr. ‘92
    Wintrust Financial

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Tolton Society

Past Event Recaps

Tolton Society / BOSS College Panel 10.23.19

The newly renamed Tolton Society joined with BOSS members and hosted the annual College Panel on Wednesday, October 23rd.  This was an informative and significant event for all of our students of color and their families.  Jawann Pollard, Dir. Of College Persisitence and Success at The Academy Group, was one of our featured speakers along with Keith Lewis, Dir. Of Community Relations at UIC.  In addition, we also welcomed back Lori Lypson ’93, Ayana Davis ’16, Christopher Koonce ’97, Arthur Reliford ’92 and our moderator, Kimberly Leonard Jackson ’99 as our Alumni Panel.  A special thanks to BOSS moderators, Cheri Smith and Fr. Paul Kalenzi, SJ.  All were treated to a fantastic buffet dinner following the Vision Boards presented by BOSS students.

BOSS Welcome Back Cookout 9.06.19

The annual BOSS/Tolton Society back to school cookout was held on Friday, September 6th at The Alumni Lounge.
BOSS students, their families and many alums gathered together to celebrate good food, great friendships and abundant fun!

Tolton Icon Blessing 8.30.19

Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago celebrated at the mass for our first Ignatian Value Days of our Sesquicentennial school year on Friday, August 30, 2019. Bishop Perry gave some reflections on the rich history of The Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton and the context of his ministry in Chicago around the time Fr. Arnold Damen, SJ, and his companions were in their first years at 1076 Roosevelt Road. Bishop Perry then blessed two icons of The Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton that will hang prominently in the school.

Bud Billiken Parade 8.10.19

The school community had a great turn out as we marched in the Bud Billiken Parade last month. The event helped celebrate the cultural diversity that has always been present at Saint Ignatius College Prep. Click here to see the photo gallery from Phillip Sutton '78.


The Claver Society hosted the biennial Summer Soiree on Saturday, August 4th to benefit the Claver Endowment. The endowment was established to provide tuition assistance to our African American students in need of tuition assistance.

Over 200 guests gathered to honor Dawn Hasbrouck ’94 for her outstanding service and leadership. The evening was a tremendous success as 100% of the $100,000 raised will be designated to the Claver Endowment. This year we will be able to provide 5 students with tuition assistance.

We are very grateful for the outstanding committee that organized and steered the success of the Summer Soiree. Our 2018 Committee: Sheila Harris, Patrice Louis '04, Kimberly Mason '85, Abraham Matthew '05, Gerald S. McCarthy '80, Malik Murray '92, Art Reliford, Jr. '92, Christine Riley '93, Curtrice White Scott '90, Valerie Barker Waller '83, and Erin Toole Williams '87. See photos from the event.

Speaker Series - Michael Strautmanis '87

The Claver Society and Saint Ignatius College Prep welcomed Michael Strautmanis ’87, Chief Engagement Officer for the Obama Foundation, to Saint Ignatius on April 19, 2018
More than 80 alums, present parents and friends of the school gathered for a reception and presentation. Mike spoke about the Obama Foundation, his four years as Senior Advisor to President Obama’s Chief of Staff as well as his four years at his alma mater!
Mike also spoke to dozens of students in the Foglia Library and engaged in a lively Q & A and took an extensive tour of the school with BOSS members, Kennedy Springfield, '19, Brittany Mensah, '19 and Helena Gebremichael, '19.
We would like to offer a sincere thank you to Mike for taking the time to spend the day with Saint Ignatius!
Phone       312.421.5900
Fax 312.432.8389