Graduate at Graduation


“Grad at Grad” is a unique term developed by the Jesuits in 1980 to represent the five key characteristics of a Graduate at Graduation from a Jesuit high school. All Jesuit high schools instill the Grad at Grad characteristics as pillars to the Jesuit mission. The five characteristics are:

Open to Growth

A U of D Jesuit High School student, at the time of graduation, has matured as a person — emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially, religiously — to a level that reflects some intentional responsibility for his own growth. The graduate is beginning to reach out in his development, seeking opportunities to stretch his mind, imagination, feelings, and religious consciousness.

Intellectually Competent

By graduation the U of D Jesuit student will exhibit a mastery of those academic requirements for advanced forms of education. He will have developed many intellectual skills and understandings that cut across and go beyond academic requirements for college entrance. The student is also developing habits of intellectual inquiry, as well as a disposition towards life-long learning. He is beginning to see the need for intellectual integrity in his personal quest for religious truth and in his response to issues of social justice.


By graduation the U of D Jesuit student will have a basic knowledge of the major doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. Having been introduced to Ignatian spirituality, the graduate will also have examined his own religious feelings and beliefs with a view to choosing a fundamental orientation toward God and establishing a relationship with a religious tradition and/or community. What is said here, respectful of the conscience and religious background of the individual, also applies to the non-Catholic graduate.


By graduation, the U of D Jesuit student is continuing to form his own identity. He is moving beyond self-interest or self-centeredness in close relationships. The graduate is beginning to be able to risk some deeper levels of relationship in which he can disclose self and accept the mystery of another person and cherish that person. Nonetheless, the graduate’s attempt at loving, while clearly beyond childhood, may not yet reflect the confidence and freedom of an adult.

Committed to Doing Justice

The U of D Jesuit student at graduation has acquired considerable knowledge of the many needs of local, national, and global communities and is preparing for the day when he will take a place in these communities as a competent, concerned and responsible member. The graduate has been inspired to develop the awareness and skills necessary to live in a global society as a man for and with others. Although this commitment to doing justice will come to fruition in mature adulthood, some predispositions will have begun to manifest themselves earlier.

The Society of Jesus sponsors or operates a network of more than four hundred Jesuit secondary schools throughout the world. Education is part of the Society's Christian mission to form Men of Faith and Men for Others. Ever since the first Jesuit secondary school was founded in Messina, Italy, in 1548, Jesuit education has been a "preparation for life" and "for eternal life."

For a more in-depth understanding of the principles behind the Grad at Grad click here.

For more information on the network of Jesuit high schools in the United States, visit the Jesuit Schools Network website.