Died 15 May 2015
Jesuit Father John J. Lo Schiavo, former president and chancellor of the University of San Francisco, died May 15, 2015, at Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 90, a Jesuit for nearly 73 years, and a priest for nearly 60 years.
Born in San Francisco on Feb. 25, 1925, the son of Joseph and Anna (Re) Lo Schiavo, Fr. Lo Schiavo attended St. Ignatius High School, where he was a star athlete, all-city basketball player and class president. Upon graduation, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on Aug. 14, 1942. Further studies took him to Gonzaga University (MA, philosophy, 1949) and Alma College for theological studies (STL, Santa Clara, 1962). He was ordained a priest in San Francisco on June 10, 1955.
As a young Jesuit before ordination, “Fr. Lo” as he later became fondly known, taught Latin and Greek at St. Ignatius High School (1949-50). He then started his long relationship with the University of San Francisco, teaching philosophy from 1950-52 and then again from 1956-57. After a stint as vice principal at Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, he returned to the University of San Francisco to teach theology (1961-62) and then moved into administration, first as dean of students (1962-66), and then as vice president of student affairs (1966-68).
Fr. Lo Schiavo served as rector-president of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose from 1968-74, before returning to USF as rector of the Jesuit community (1974-77); one of the school’s long-serving presidents (1977-91); and chancellor (1991-2013). After nearly a half-century at USF, declining health brought him to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in a ministry of prayer.
In addition to dealing with the high-profile situations of university administration, he also found time for priestly ministry, through the many weddings, baptisms and funerals of alumni and friends, Mass regularly celebrated in St. Ignatius Church on the USF campus or the Carmelite monastery across the street, and the wise advice he gave to many. Fr. Lo was very active in community affairs and served on the board of directors or trustees of numerous educational, religious and charitable foundations. He was the recipient of several honorary degrees and civic awards.
Born of immigrant parents, he was especially proud of his Italian heritage. He was gregarious and affable, approachable, compassionate, intelligent and committed to the ideals of Jesuit education. He was also an avid golfer. He was preceded in death by his two sisters, Josephine and Lina Lo Schiavo. He is survived by many cousins.