LOS GATOS, Calif. (AP) — The Rev. John Lo Schiavo, former president of the University of San Francisco who presided over the university’s resurgence and a shutdown of its basketball program, died Friday. He was 90.
Lo Schiavo died in the infirmary at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, said University of San Francisco spokeswoman Anne-Marie Devine Tasto.
A San Francisco native, Lo Schiavo was born in 1925 to Italian immigrants. He graduated from Star of the Sea Grammar School and St. Ignatius High School and joined the Society of Jesus in 1942.
His 65-year association with USF began in 1950, when he became an instructor of philosophy. He began a 14-year presidency in 1977.
One of his main achievements at USF was getting the university out of debt and significantly growing its endowment from $4.6 million in 1976 to $38.7 million in 1991.
His presidency was not without controversy: In 1982 he shut down the university’s highly successful Division I basketball program after numerous recruiting violations.
A former all-city basketball player at St. Ignatius High School, Lo Schiavo felt he had no alternative but to suspend the program after repeated violations of NCAA rules, Devine Tasto said.
In 1985, Lo Schiavo restored the basketball program under new leadership and more stringent guidelines, she said.
In a letter to the USF community announcing his retirement from the presidency in 1991, Lo Schiavo addressed the university’s legacy and promise for the future. “Catholic education is more relevant today than ever before,” he wrote. “The need for moral and ethical standards in every sector of modern society has never been more evident.”
He is survived by several cousins.
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