St. Jerome’s History
St Jerome’s College/High School 1907 façade
Fr Louis Funcken
By the mid-nineteenth century, Waterloo County had a large, growing, German-speaking Roman Catholic population, and a need for higher education to meet their needs. As a result St Jerome’s College was founded in 1865 by Reverend Dr Louis Funcken and his brother Fr Eugene Funcken, Fathers of the Congregation of the Resurrection. The first building was a log cabin school house, on Erb’s Road, in St Agatha. By 1867 the school moved to its present Duke St Location in Kitchener (then Berlin) in order to meet the growing need for quality Catholic education, but its primary purpose was to prepare young men for the seminary. Under the academic and spiritual guidance of the Fathers of the Congregation of the Resurrection, St Jerome’s soon earned a reputation for providing strong, rigorous, faith-based Catholic higher education. As its reputation grew, so too did the need to expand the school building itself, being rebuilt and renovated in 1881, 1889, 1907 (the present Duke Street facade) and 1958.
In 1959 St Jerome’s College attained the status of an independent university in Ontario. In 1960, St Jerome’s College became affiliated with the newly opened University of Waterloo and an additional building was erected on the University campus. Henceforth, the Duke Street school would be known as St Jerome’s High School and the University of Waterloo affiliate would be known as the University of St Jerome’s College.
In September of 1986 St Jerome’s High School took the innovative and progressive of step of introducing full integration of Special Needs students into the regular classroom, combining this with strong student peer support from the rest of the student body. This became a model of care and education for Special Needs students across the Board and province. WCDSB staff then spent the next two years in-servicing various school Boards across the province on the philosophy and practice of integrating Special Needs students into the regular classroom.
St Jerome’s High School closed in 1990 after celebrating 125 years of leadership in Catholic Education. Its legacy remains in the 1000’s of young men who, as St Jerome’s Lions, lived out the school motto “AD DEUM PER GRATIAM ET SAPIENTIAM”, “To God Through Grace and Wisdom”.