Alumni

St. Joseph's Prep

Hall of Excellence

Since 1851, members of the St. Joseph’s Prep community have demonstrated their commitment to God, our country, our city, and our community, while serving the school and its students in extraordinary ways. They have excelled in various fields of human endeavor, they have achieved greatness across many walks of life, and they are always committed to Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (AMDG), for the greater glory of God.

St. Joseph’s Prep’s Hall of Excellence was established to recognize individuals who represent the ideals of the Prep through their pursuit of becoming men and women for others. Inductees will be enshrined and celebrated in the J. Anthony Hayden ’62 Hall of Excellence on the first floor of Villiger Hall.

The Hall of Excellence honors alumni and members of the St. Joseph’s Prep community who have distinguished themselves in the areas of “A.M.D.G.”:

Athletics
Individual alumni, coaches, or teams who have excelled during or after their time at St. Joseph’s Prep.

Mission
Alumni who have lived a life of service and have demonstrated their personal commitment to being a man for and with others.

Distinction
Alumni who have excelled in their field of endeavor.

Generational Impact
Alumni, Faculty, or Staff who have left a lasting impact on the life of St. Joseph’s Prep.

The 2024 class of inductees are:

Athletics

James P. Murray

Class of 1959

Jim Murray is a name synonymous with Prep athletics. He served as the Prep’s Athletic Director for 44 years and became the first coach of the Prep soccer program in 1971, winning the Catholic League title in 2010. During 46 years at the Prep (and 4 at Friends Central), Murray won 620 games, making him the second winningest coach in state history when he retired in 2016.

Arriving at the Prep in 1969, Murray served in many roles, including as Dean of Students and chair of the Math Department. He served as the school’s Athletic Director from 1971 until 2015, and the athletic department grew during his tenure to include sports such as wrestling, indoor track, lacrosse and volleyball. He has held every officer position in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

Murray has achieved many Prep honors, including the Ignatian Award, the Schnorr Service Award and the Alumnus of the Year Award; as well as induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the Saint Joseph’s University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame. The Catholic Standard and Times named Murray the Coach of the Decade for the 1980s.

The 2002-03 Basketball Team

The 2002-03 Basketball Team is one of the best teams in Prep history, winning the school’s first PCL Basketball title in 32 years and also the first of two straight under legendary head coach Speedy Morris. Three of the team’s players are among the top scorers in school history (Mark Zoller, John Griffin, Chris Clark). In the PCL Championship, the Prep defeated a highly favored Cardinal Dougherty team that featured future NBA superstar and Basketball Hall of Famer Kyle Lowry.

This was Morris’ second year at the Prep and the championship continued an incredible trivia fact about the legendary coach: he won a championship in the second year at each stop on his journey (Roman, Penn Charter, La Salle Women, and La Salle Men). Coach Morris’ name is currently emblazoned on the sideline of Kelly Fieldhouse in front of the Prep bench so that each coach who follows will work in his footsteps. 

Several players from this team went on to play college basketball at a high level: Clark at Temple, Zoller at Penn, and Griffin at Bucknell. Griffin is now the head coach of the Bison and Clark is an assistant at Temple.

The 1997 Crew Team

In 1997, Prep Crew did something no other rowing program had ever accomplished in the 70 years the Stotesbury Cup Regatta had been in existence: the Prep swept all six eight-oared events for boys. The Stotesbury is the world’s largest scholastic regatta hosting over 5,000 rowers each year from the United States and Canada.  

On May 17, 1997, the St. Joseph’s Prep rowing team took home gold in the Boy’s Senior 8+, Midweight 8+, Lightweight 8+, Second 8+, Junior 8+, and Freshman 8+. The day ended with the Prep winning the coveted Edward T. Stotesbury Cup for winning the Boy’s Senior (Varsity) 8+.

Over the years, the Prep crew program has been extraordinarily successful at Stotes, USRowing National Championships, and the Henley Royal Regatta, but this was the first time (of three) that the Prep swept at Stotesbury, and we remain the only school to ever do so.

Mission

Rev. William J. Byron, S.J.

Class of 1945

Rev. Bill Byron, S.J. ’45 has been one of most prominent leaders and authors in the Society of Jesus for the past 7 decades. He was at the helm of several top Catholic Universities and is a prolific writer of books on Catholicism and faith. 

After graduating from the Prep, Byron served in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the United States Army in the Second World War before enrolling at Saint Joseph’s College and then joining the Jesuits. Fr. Byron is most remembered as the President of the University of Scranton (1975-82); during his leadership, the campus underwent significant changes, and the University dedicated the William J. Byron Recreational Complex.  Byron was the first Jesuit ever to serve as President of the Catholic University of America (1982-92), and he served interim terms as President of the Prep (2006-08) and Loyola University of New Orleans (2003-04). 

Fr. Byron is the author of more than 20 books, and for many years penned a syndicated bi-weekly column entitled “Looking Around.” He has received 30 honorary degrees.

Cardinal John Foley

Class of 1953

Cardinal Foley is one of the most renowned American clerics of the 20th century and the only Prep graduate to be named a Cardinal. Foley was Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, having previously served as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007. He is perhaps best known for providing English commentary during the Christmas Vigil Midnight Mass on American television for a quarter of a century, 

Foley began his priestly vocation in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and was well known for his work as Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Standard and Times. He then led the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007, when he was appointed grand master, and had been a consultor or member of many curial departments. He was the seventh priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to be elevated to cardinal.

Cardinal Foley, passed away in 2011, came to the Prep in 2007 after being named a Cardinal. He spoke of hearing God’s whisper during his days at the Prep that called him to a life of service to the priesthood. That visit was documented in the Spring 2008 edition of The Prep News

Dominic Vallone

Class of 1971

Dominic Vallone, a true “Man For and With Others,” was one of four friends to start the Cathedral Kitchen out of their local parish in Camden. From humble beginnings in 1976, the group fed the homeless with food donated from church groups and other charitable organizations. Over almost 50 years it has grown to become an incredible resource, feeding thousands of those in need in one of the poorest cities in the nation. Vallone was later a founding board member of Joseph's House of Camden, which has offered emergency shelter and services to those in need since 2010.

While food and shelter are the most immediate concerns of these ministries, they both include critical support services that attempt to treat the whole person, helping guests navigate the individual steps each might take to attain a better degree of stability in their lives.Vallone believes that this type of hospitality offers a climate for healing and growth, an opportunity for those in need to realize the dignity in themselves that God intends for all.

Dominic and his wife Chris married in 1984 and have been blessed with three children and four grandchildren.

Distinction

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach

Class of 1959

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach is a highly respected doctor and medical expert, including serving as the Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and as director of the National Cancer Institute. 

After graduating from the Prep, von Eschenbach received his bachelor of science in biology from Saint Joseph's University and his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. von Eschenbach began his long association with MD Anderson Cancer Center, becoming chair of the department of urology in 1983. He was the founding director of the Prostate Cancer Research Program in 1996, director of the Genitourinary Cancer Center, and held the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Clinical Research Distinguished Chair in Urologic Oncology. He rose to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at MD Anderson and served as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps.

From 2006 to 2009 von Eschenbach served as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he championed an agenda to improve the regulatory pathway for drugs and medical devices and fostered creative projects, including the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative (designed to bring modern tools of science to the product development process); the FDA’s Food Protection Plan; and several workforce initiatives, such as an agency-wide fellowship program and the development of a new integrated campus for the agency. Under his leadership, the FDA experienced dramatic increases in resources, which strengthened its mission to protect and promote public health.

Prior to joining the FDA, von Eschenbach served for four years as Director of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, where he set an ambitious goal to eliminate  suffering and death due to cancer by rapid acceleration and integration of the discovery-development-delivery continuum.

von Eschenbach left the FDA in 2009 to join Greenleaf Health, which counsels pharmaceutical clients, before starting his own consulting company, Samaritan Health Initiatives. Dr. von Eschenbach currently serves on the board of directors of Bausch and Lomb, Tri Salus Life Sciences, and the Reagan Udall Foundation of the FDA. 

Henry Jones

Class of 1931

Henry Jones ’31 is one of the most successful actors to ever graduate from the Prep, and the only Prep alumnus to ever receive the American Theatre’s highest honor, the Antoinette Perry Award (aka the TONY).  A veteran actor of stage, film, and television, Jones appeared in over 180 films and television shows, including Vertigo, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and 9 to 5. An annual Cape and Sword Award is named in his honor.

Jones was born in New Jersey, and raised in Philadelphia. Early in his career, he performed with the Hedgerow Theatre in Media. His first Broadway appearance was in Maurice Evan's 1938 production of Hamlet. During World War II, he served in the Army and was cast in Irving Berlin's This is the Army. Jones is especially remembered for his role as handyman Leroy Jessup in the movie The Bad Seed (1956), a role he originated on Broadway. 

His major theatre credit was as Frankin D. Roosevelt’s bodyman Louis Howe in Broadway’s 1958 production of  Sunrise at Campobello, for which he won the Tony Award for Oustanding Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama.

Mr. Jones died in 1999.

Capt. Edward Davis

Class of 1957

Captain Ed Davis is perhaps the most decorated Prep military alumnus, receiving: three Silver Stars; the Legion of Merit with Combat Citation; four Bronze Stars with Valor Device; five Air Medals; two Purple Hearts; and three Navy Commendation Medals with Valor Device. 

After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1962, he underwent Naval flight training, with assignment to VA-152, an attack squadron based at Alameda, California. Deployed aboard the USS Oriskany, he was shot down over North Vietnam on August 26, 1965. He returned home on February 12, 1973, after seven and a half years as a Prisoner-of-War in Hanoi, where he was held with former US Senator John McCain. 

He gained national recognition as an impact speaker and lecturer, having spoken internationally to governmental, educational and private sector groups on subjects of leadership and management under difficult circumstances, and the value of humanitarian service.  

Capt. Davis passed away in 2006.

Mayor Michael Nutter

Class of 1975

Michael Nutter served as the 98th Mayor of Philadelphia. On his second day in office, he came to the Prep, wanting his first public event to be at a place that meant so much to him.

Serving two terms (2008-2016), Nutter worked consistently to improve the city and improve the lives of Philadelphians. In 2011, Esquire magazine named Mayor Nutter to its Americans of the Year list and in 2014, he was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine. During his tenure, Philadelphia City government received more than 150 awards for innovative programs, good government practices and excellence. He has also served on President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Advisory Council. 

Nutter now is a teaching fellow at Columbia University and a frequent expert guest on cable news network CNN. In addition, he serves on many civic and educational boards, including a second term on the St. Joseph’s Prep Board of Trustees.

To read more about Mayor Nutter’s visit to the Prep in 2007, click here.

Generational Impact

A4 Mentor Program Founders

In 1990, many at the Prep were concerned that the retention of students of color was low; though the Prep was bringing in a decent number of black and brown students each year, they were also leaving at a higher rate than white counterparts. Five Prep Alumni — Robert Jones ’72, Hayward Ratliff ’78, Wadell Ridley ’77, Anthony Twyman ’79, and Howard Tucker ’82 — founded the African American Alumni Association with the intent that membership would entail working with students of color to help them feel connected to the school academically and socially. This group — the “A4,” as it affectionately became known — hit the ground running. They began a tutoring program (“Kicking As”), mentoring, nationwide college tours, and social opportunities for students and families.

The A4 program has been a huge success for St. Joseph’s Prep and — though many have tried —  no other school has been able to replicate this program (which is in many ways the Prep’s own, “Man for Others,” mantra in practice).

The A4 continues its valuable work at the Prep today under new leadership, who themselves are successful products of the work done by the A4.

Sr. Kathleen M. Woody, GNSH

Sr. Woody served the Prep community as campus minister, teacher, and beloved icon for more than 40 years. She taught a generation of students Religious Studies and English, but her greatest impact was unquestionably in Campus Ministry.  Countless alumni have experienced their memorable and life-changing Kairos retreat under Sr. Woody’s leadership as she attended and ran 110 consecutive Kairos retreats over several decades.  

Sister joined the Prep in 1979 as one of only a handful women on the faculty. Her genuine care, love and concern for Prep students was always at the forefront of her vocation here as were her colleagues, who developed tremendous love and respect for her (many of whom were first influenced by her as a student at the Prep). A mission-driven individual, Sr. Woody served as a wonderful role model for the young men of the Prep (including her nephews, three of whom are Prep alums, and one of whom is now a Jesuit). 

Sister’s quick humor, unfazed demeanor, and care for Prep students (“the boys” as she playfully referred to them) made her a huge favorite among all of those who had the great pleasure to flourish here under her unparalleled pastoral care.

Jerome Taylor

Jerry Taylor was a legend for the 47 years he taught history at the Prep, a master teacher whose classes alumni often referred to as “the best class I took at the Prep.”

Mr. Taylor taught US History, AP American History and AP European History during his tenure. In addition, he was the head of the very successful Pre-8th Grade Summer Program for many years, helping establish it as the best summer enrichment opportunity in the Delaware Valley. A quiet, humble man, he was a friend to many on the faculty and staff and beloved by generations of alumni.

Mr. Taylor, who was fond of urging his students to “never be ordinary,” passed away in 2021. This extraordinary man was recently honored with a scholarship established in his name to ensure his legacy continues at the Prep.

Dr. Henry V. Bender

Class of 1963

Dr. Henry Bender spent 50 years as a teacher, including 30 at the Prep. To many Prep alums, Dr. Bender is quite simply an icon. With devotion and intellectual passion, he infused his love of the Classical languages to generations of Prep students, a significant number of whom have followed in his footsteps as Classics’ teachers. In addition, hundreds of Prep alums have been enriched by the more than 130 trips that Dr. Bender led to Italy and Greece. In fact many alumni say that their trip to Italy or Greece with Dr. Bender was a highlight of their Prep education. 

While teaching at the Prep, Dr. Bender completed his Ph.D. in Classical Philology and Archaeology. He has held National Endowment for the Humanities positions at Harvard University and Tufts University, and has published articles and books on Greek and Roman Archaeology and the Roman poets Catullus, Horace and Vergil. 

Now retired from high school teaching, Dr. Bender continues to lead groups to some of his favorite sites overseas. A scholarship was established in his name to ensure that his legacy remains at the school that he loved so much.

Past Inductees

Nominations

Nominations are solicited from the Prep alumni community and reviewed by committees composed of members of the alumni, faculty, and administration. Committees present recommendations to the President of the Prep, who makes the final selections. Inductees are honored at an annual dinner held each spring at the Prep.

Qualifications for Nominees:

  • Prep alumni nominees more than 10 years post graduation
  • Nominations of individuals or specific teams will be considered
  • Current and former teachers, staff, administrators, or coaches are eligible

The Hall of Excellence honors alumni and members of the St. Joseph’s Prep community who have distinguished themselves in the areas of “A.M.D.G.”:

Athletics
Individual alumni, coaches, or teams who have excelled during or after their time at St. Joseph’s Prep.

Mission
Alumni who have lived a life of service and have demonstrated their personal commitment to being a man for and with others.

Distinction
Alumni who have excelled in their field of endeavor.

Generational Impact
Alumni, Faculty, or Staff who have left a lasting impact on the life of St. Joseph’s Prep.