News
USF to Rename Residence Hall to Honor Beloved Alum

BY ED CARPENTER

USF will dedicate Burl A. Toler Hall on May 9, renaming Phelan Hall in honor of Burl Toler '52, MA '66, co-captain of USF's famous 1951 football team. 

The move came after students raised concerns about former San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan (who graduated from USF in 1881, when it was called St. Ignatius College) and his public opposition to immigration, diversity, and inclusion — all crucial aspects of USF’s Jesuit Catholic education as well as its mission and values. 

Perhaps the best team of its era, Toler's 1951 football squad finished the season 9-0. They were invited to play in the Orange Bowl, but only on the condition that they leave behind their two star African American players — Burl Toler and Ollie Matson. The team refused and stood on principle against the racism of the time. The story was later broadcast on ESPN.

A lifetime of firsts

Nine players on the team were drafted by the NFL, Toler by the Chicago Cardinals. A knee injury ended his playing career, but he went on to become the first African American NFL referee and first African American official for any professional sport in the country. 

In 1968, he became the first African American secondary school principal in San Francisco at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, which was later renamed Burl Toler Campus.

Toler was a USF alumnus of the year, a former USF trustee, and a member of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. He died in 2009. 

"This dedication means that future generations of Dons will learn Burl A. Toler Sr.'s name and his life story, and that his legacy will live on in the heart of our campus, indeed in the heart of the city where his many contributions have changed lives and made history," said USF President Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.

USF held a special place in Toler's heart and continues to resonate with his family, which includes three generations of Dons, said Greg Toler MA '95, Burl's son. "USF provided our father and us with unique opportunities to chase our passion for learning and collaborating and taught us invaluable and everlasting personal and professional tools for success," he said.

Greg's niece and Burl’s granddaughter, Maurita Toler MA '16, is also a USF alumna.

 

(From: University of San Francisco)



Recent News

October 19, 2017 — Today, the Society of Jesus celebrates the eight North American Martyrs.

Father Martin Irwin Rock, SJ, longtime pastor of Jesuit parishes in Ogden, Utah and elsewhere, entered into God’s peace October 9 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 89 and had been a member of the Society of Jesus for 72 years, 58 as a priest.

Pope Francis canonized 35 new saints on October 15, including Brazilian Jesuit St. André de Soveral.

Father Norbert Jerome Rigali, SJ, retired professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of San Diego and other Catholic universities, entered into God’s peace October 4 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif., after a long illness. He was 88.

The Bellarmine Preparatory (Tacoma) School Robotics team recently received a $10,000 Best Buy Community Grant. The grant will be used to extend the team’s community outreach with local Boys and Girls Clubs.

W. Kamau Bell was named the Frank Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts at Santa Clara University for 2017-18. Bell is a critically acclaimed sociopolitical comedian and host of the Emmy Award-winning hit CNN documentary series “United Shades of America.” As Sinatra Artist-in-Residence, Bell will mentor and engage with students, faculty, and the Santa Clara University community.

Today the Society of Jesus celebrates the feast of St. Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572), the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2017

Mission Magazine - Fall 2016

Mission Magazine - Spring 2016


Update
Summer, 2017

Update
Spring, 2017

Update
Winter, 2016


Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.