About AQ

History & Tradition

A Tradition of Excellence Since 1902

1902       Cathedral High School opens under the direction of Bishop McQuaid.  Fr. Hickey converts a portion of the old Cathedral Parish Hall into a one-room schoolhouse. The school opens with thirty students who pursue a business education.
1904       Cathedral High expands its educational program to include an academic diploma program.
1905       Fr. Hickey is ordained Bishop of Rochester.
1912       In September, Cathedral High School opens as a co-educational institution with an enrollment of 330 students and 130 alumni.  The class of 1912 includes 23 women.
1914       Cathedral High School is renamed Rochester Catholic High School.  The name is changed as the school draws students from other city parishes.
1917       The women transfer to the newly established Nazareth Academy on Lake Avenue, formerly located on Jay Street, about one block from Cathedral High.
1922       March 16 – Senate Bill No. 1402 – The Aquinas Institute of Rochester is created by a special act of the New York Legislature.  This special act serves as the incorporation document of Aquinas.  It also provides for the Bishop of Rochester to be president of the corporation.  Aquinas is incorporated under the auspices of the State University of New York.
In September, Rochester Catholic officially changes its name to The Aquinas Institute of Rochester.
1923       The Aquinas Institute Fund Drive is initiated, raising over $900,000.
1924       March 7 – Dewey Avenue groundbreaking.
1925       Aquinas Institute opens its doors on Dewey Avenue.
1928       The St. Thomas Club is established for those who complete four years with an “A” grade average.
1932       First permanent members of the St. Thomas Club are inducted.  The First Mission Bouts are fought, with the proceeds of the boxing matches donated to the Basilian Missions.
1937       Full administrative authority for Aquinas is transferred from the Diocesan clergy to the Basilian Fathers.          
Aquinas incurs substantial debt during the Depression, which is paid off  through diocesan parish collections and the operation of the school.            
The September 1937 agreement between the Basilian Fathers and the Bishop of Rochester provides for the Diocese to give $20,000 annually to subsidize tuition. Aquinas is required to collect tuition of $75 per year.  One half of the tuition is to be retained by Aquinas and one half remitted to the Diocese.  The agreement is based on enrollment of 500 students.
1946      The LaGrange Avenue Annex opens in September.  It includes 450 students in the 1946-47 freshman class that graduates 406 in 1950 – the largest graduating class in the history of the school.
1947-48    Aquinas realizes its highest enrollment at 1,709.  This includes the 500 Annex freshmen.
1948-49    Aquinas Memorial Stadium opens.  During the 1948-49 academic year, Aquinas football attendance reaches 128,343.            
(The stadium was sold to the City of Rochester on February 7, 1973 for $750,000.  On September 9, 1973, the stadium was renamed Holleder Stadium in memory of Major Donald Holleder ’52.  The stadium was demolished on August 2, 1985).
1955       April 4 – Diocese increases the annual tuition subsidy to $30,000.  Aquinas maintains its annual tuition of $75.
1976       Bishop Hogan, Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester and President of the Aquinas Board of Trustees, resigns as president of the Board.  First lay Board president is elected.
1977       February 24 – By action of the New York State Board of Regents, the Aquinas charter is amended, vesting full governance authority in the lay Aquinas Board.
1982       September – St. Agnes High School closes.  The Aquinas Board approves the admission of female students.  Aquinas becomes a co-educational secondary school.
1989       June 8 – Aquinas is placed on the National Registry for Historic Landmarks.  Cardinal Mooney High School closes, and Aquinas welcomes those students into its Tradition.
1993       October – Wegman-Napier Center opens, providing a large gymnasium and new science labs.
1994       June 1 – Board adopts the president/principal administration model.
1995       March – first president is appointed.
2000       While individual Basilians continue to serve on the Board, the official association of Aquinas and the Basilian Fathers concludes at the end of the 1999 – 2000 academic year.
2002       Aquinas celebrates its 100th Anniversary as an educational institution.
2004       The Fine Arts Center is dedicated, featuring state-of-the-art technology in classrooms and the Hastings Black Box Theatre.
2005       The Wegman Sports Complex is dedicated.  The building of this facility was made possible by a gift from Robert B. Wegman `37.  Renovations begin within Aquinas’ original structure.                          
The Aquinas Student Union is dedicated in the fall, during the First Annual Alumni & Reunion Weekend.  
2007       Ground broken for The Robert B. Wegman `37  Fitness  Center.  Aquinas celebrates the 25th Anniversary of young women attending the School.
2008       Aquinas opens a Junior High School in response to the closing of 13 diocesan schools. Renovation of old gymnasium to accommodate the Mary P. Hastings & Ann K. Wegman Library.
2009       Aquinas dedicates the Thomas F. Bell `57 Auditorium.
2010       Aquinas Institute and Nazareth Schools announce a partnership that will create the only co-ed PreK-12 school system in the area.
2015       Aquinas opens a 6th grade in fall 2015, creating a true middle school on the AQ campus.

2015       Aquinas begins phasing out New York State Assessments and Regents exams. The transition will be completed in the spring of 2021.
2019       Aquinas dedicates the outdoor track to Father J. Michael Wesley, CSB ’57.
2019       The Wegman Family Cafeteria is dedicated in the spring.
2019       An Augmented/Virtual Reality Lab opens at Aquinas to compliment the school’s STREAM-based curriculum.

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1127 Dewey Avenue
Rochester, NY 14613
(585) 254-2020
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