History and Marianist Education

For more than 70 years, Archbishop Riordan High School faithfully served the exceptional young men of San Francisco. Now we're in a new chapter of our history with a co-ed model that began in the 2020-21 school year.

Riordan History

Mary As Our Model

Archbishop Riordan High School is an Archdiocesan Catholic school in the Marianist tradition. Blessed William Joseph Chaminade founded the Society of Mary (the Marianists) in France in 1817. The order is distinguished by certain charisms, or gifts given by God for the benefit of the Christian community, that guide all Marianist ministries and programs in the U.S. and around the world. These charisms are to be People of Faith, Followers of Mary, People of Community, Discipleship of Equals, and Leaders in Mission. Education is the principal work of the Society, though a large number of religious are in other works of the apostolate such as preaching, parish work, orphanages, missions, and directing lay groups.

A Catholic Marianist high school fosters the premise of education as a transformative process. Rooted in the courage, spirit and compassion of our Blessed Mother, graduates of Archbishop Riordan High School become leaders and mentors in society.

Characteristics of Marianist Education

The Marianist spirit holds dearly the principle of the Golden Rule where students become scholars who embrace diversity, embody mutual respect, and lead by example. To accomplish this task, Marianist educators are entrusted to educate in five characteristics that guide the mission and philosophy of our school:

Faith Formation
Integral Quality Education
Family Spirit
Service, Justice, Peace & the Integrity of Creation
Adaptation & Change

Marianist Integration Team (MIT)

Members of the Marianist Integration Team (MIT) facilitate the school community’s understanding of the Characteristics of Marianist Education, integrating these ideals in all aspects of school life, including our boarding program.

Drawing on internal feedback, experience, assessment, and a variety of Marianist resources—including the Northern American Center for Marianist Studies, Office of Sponsorship, teacher education workshops, and networking with other Marianist schools—the team creates and implements detailed long-term and short-term strategic plans to enhance the Marianist spirit at Riordan.

Archbishop Riordan is part of a network of 18 Marianist secondary schools in the U.S. More information about the Marianists can be found at www.marianist.com.

A Brief Timeline

The Marianists arrive in California.

Archbishop Riordan receives good word of the Marianist Brothers serving in Stockton and invites them to teach in San Francisco.

The great quake happens in April and levels the entire city. The Marianists begin teaching at St. James.

St. James School opens a high school program.

The high school at St. James closes and Archbishop Riordan High School opens in San Francisco's Ingleside District.

Riordan transitions to a co-ed model, welcoming young women to our school community starting in Fall 2020.

Notable Alumni

Tomás Aragón
Director, California Department of Public Health

Alton Byrd
Former Pro Basketball Player

Dr. Arthur Dugoni '43
Former President of the American Dental Association
 and Dean of the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry

Jimmie Fails

Donald Haderle
IBM Executive

Warren Hinckle
Political Journalist

Larry Jackson
Apple Music Head of Content

Kevin Restani
Former NBA Player

Joe Spano

Steve Sewell
Former NFL Player