Rockhurst High School serves the greater Kansas City area by educating Ignatian leaders, “men for others”, in the Roman Catholic, Jesuit college preparatory tradition. In the spirit of Saint Ignatius Loyola, its goal is the formation of the whole person within a diverse and disciplined environment, as one who is open to growth, strives for academic excellence, is religious, loving, and committed to justice through service.
Beginning in 1908, Rev. Michael P. Dowling, S.J., wrote to his superiors informing them he had selected a site at 52nd Street and Troost Avenue for Kansas City’s Jesuit college and preparatory school. He called it “Rockhurst”, drawing inspiration from Stonyhurst College in England, because the grounds were stony and a grove of woods nearby brought the word “hurst” to mind.
Then known as the Academy of Rockhurst College, the high school was officially chartered by the State of Missouri in 1910. Four years later, 42 students enrolled in the first freshman and sophomore classes, taught by three Jesuit faculty members. The original 42 became the class of 1917 and the first of thousands of young men to be educated at Rockhurst.
“Not Mere Minds"
The school’s original prospectus charged The Academy of Rockhurst College “to turn out young men whose mental faculties have been so developed and formed that they may successfully enter upon the immediate preparation of any career.” The first Jesuit faculty accomplished this by offering a course of classical studies with equal emphasis on moral formation and religious instruction, noting “it is men who are to be trained, not mere minds.”
From Academy to High School
The Academy of Rockhurst College became Rockhurst High School in 1923, but remained incorporated with the college. In 1962, Rockhurst High School became a new and separate corporation when it moved to the present site at 9301 State Line Road. The Robert C. Greenlease family became the high school’s principal benefactor and the name “Greenlease Memorial” was added to the school’s official title.
A New Chapter
David J. Laughlin was selected to serve as the school's 18th president beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. Rockhurst High School continues to be a place where young students learn to become “men for others” who distinguish themselves for the greater glory of God.