On This Rock I Will Build My School This photo of the O'Dowd campus in 1951 was discovered by Siegel & Strain architect Karen Richards during her research to determine the siting of the new Center for Environmental Studies. Read about the CES project on page 24. Jack Dold 1966 – Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate assume administration of the school, with Fr. Frank Wagner, OMI, serving as principal. Jack Dold is the first lay vice principal of the school, serving O’Dowd through 1975. Tuition and fees $210 8 THE DRAGON Before O’Dowd was a bustling high school campus, the school property was a rock quarry, owned by Joseph Catucci, an excavation, grading and concrete contractor. Joseph’s wife, Bella, took over the company after her husband’s passing in 1939, and kept it going until the mid 1940s. In 1946, she sold off part of the property to EBMUD for the construction of the Seneca Reservoir. Bishop O’Dowd HighSchool was built in 1951 on the balance of the Catucci property. Aerial view of campus in 2007. 1967 – The boy’s basketball team, coached by Frank LaPorte, posts a 37-2 record and is voted the designated state champion.
About Bishop James T. O’Dowd Bishop O’Dowd HighSchool is named in memory of the former director of education at the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Bishop James T. O’Dowd. At the time of his sudden and tragic death in a car accident in 1950, when he was just 42, the Bishop was in the process of drawing up plans for a new Catholic high school in the East Bay. The San Francisco native had a short, yet remarkable career as a priest and educator. He was ordained a priest on June 4, 1932, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, and his first assignment was serving as assistant pastor at St. Lawrence O’Toole Church in Oakland. Archbishop of San Francisco John Joseph Mitty was quick to identify Fr. O’Dowd as one of his most able and promising priests and sent him to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., to earn a doctorate in education. Fr. O’Dowd’s dissertation, “Standardization and its Influence on Catholic Education in the United States,” was considered the model work in education circles at the time. Fr. O’Dowd was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1936, and was named Superintendent in 1941. This was a remarkable achievement for a young priest who was only 34 at the time. In his tenure as Superintendent, Fr. O’Dowd (who was named a Monsignor in 1943) helped plan and establish nearly two dozen Catholic schools including four high schools: Archbishop Riordan HighSchool; Marin Catholic; Mercy, San Francisco; and O’Dowd. He was admired and respected by his colleagues for promoting Catholic education in the Bay Area and nationwide. He served as chair for the National Catholic Educational Association’s (NCEA) California Secondary School Department, was a member of the San Francisco Coordinating Council for Youth Welfare, and served on the Teacher Training Committee of the California Board of Education. He also served as chariman of the NCEA national convention that was held in San Francisco in 1948. He was elevated to Bishop on May 27, 1948, and served as pastor of Mission Dolores. 1968 – First Crab Feed held 1969 – First computer on campus, purchased by Friends of the Computer. 9 THE DRAGON Bishop James T. O'Dowd, BishopO'DowdHighSchool's namesake.