14 In the spring of 1841, a Kentucky Jesuit, Fr. John Larkin S.J., gave a talk in Cincinnati on the hot button issue of Temperance. He maintained that the common and popular anti-alcohol pledge was not a promise binding under sin, but simply a pious resolution. Many Cincinnati Catholics, along with their Bishop, disagreed, believing strongly in total abstinence. They saw the pledge as binding under sin. At the 1843 Bishops’ Synod in Baltimore, the other American bishops sided with Fr. Larkin.37 In the fall of 1841, extracurricular clubs began at Xavier. The oldest was the Philopaedean Society, a group started among the upper level students to promote public speaking and debate. Three other clubs started within a few years, each having a Greek name. The Philhermenian Society aided the younger students in public speaking. The Euterpean Society, promoted the use of music to assist with the dignity and spirit of religious, national and literary festivals. The Himiroletic Society was formed to help students with the pronunciation of the French language.38 In the middle 1840s, Sodalities started at St. Xavier. These were associations of students who met regularly to pray together, learn about prayer, and to perform community service. The groups usually placed themselves under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sodalities were very popular at St. Xavier well into the middle of the 20th century. On March 2, 1842, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio adopted a resolution to incorporate St. Xavier College for 30 years. By this incorporation, St. Xavier College was allowed to grant degrees (Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts). Our first graduate (in 1842), a Mr. William Gilmartin, received a Master of Arts degree. He was a lay teacher at St. Xavier who was teaching English Literature, Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. (A Master of Arts degree was earned after the Bachelor of Arts degree by an additional one or two years of private study, followed by a successful examination of educational progress at St. Xavier.) Graduation ceremonies were scheduled for the end of the school year, usually during the second week of July. The ceremonies usually lasted two or more evenings. They were open to the public, and all St. Xavier students and the faculty were expected to attend. Students from each educational level gave presentations highlighting their growth in knowledge. All graduating students were expected to give a talk or presentation, some in English but others in Latin, Greek, French or German. The audience was occasionally treated to a skit or drama. Music was performed by students between the various talks and presentations. At the 1850 graduation, students performed “The Xavier Quick Step,” a piece written by Mr. H. Bollman, a layman who was professor of Music and Director of the college band.39 On the final evening, diplomas, certificates and academic awards were distributed. In the early years, the school library possessed 6,000 volumes, and had “an extensive collection of specimens of Conchology and Mineralogy,” as well as Chemical and Philosophical *Physics+ apparati.40 By 1864 the library had almost doubled the number of volumes it originally possessed. Mr. Duerinck S.J., one of the eight original Jesuits who came to Cincinnati in 1840, arrived with a reputation for possessing great financial management skills. Beyond this, he was known as a very good botanist. A plant which he discovered was given the name Prunus Duerinckus. At Xavier he set up a well-
Early history of St. Xavier High School researched and written by Fr. Dennis Ahern, S.J.