Gov. Doug Ducey presented Sister Joan Fitzgerald with a commendation for her 60 years of service to Xavier College Preparatory at a Nov. 1 assembly at the school (photo by David Willkie/Duke Photography).

Xavier College Preparatory’s Sister Joan Fitzgerald, BVM, celebrated her 60th year at Xavier Nov. 1.

At the morning assembly, Governor Doug Ducey presented Sister Joan with a commendation from the State of Arizona in honor of her dedication and steadfast efforts to support and serve Phoenix communities for over 60 years.

In the evening, a dinner was held at Xavier where Sister Joan was honored by Bishop John Dolan of the Diocese of Phoenix and Arizona Supreme Court Justice and Xavier alum, Kate Hackett King, among others.

Sister Joan told the audience that when she arrived at Xavier in 1962 to teach Spanish, “there was only one school building, one student came to school on horseback and tied her horse to the tennis court fence, and tuition was $14.”

Since 1962, Sister Joan has served as teacher, treasurer, principal, and president today. She has raised $50 million (so far) for scholarships, campus improvements and capital campaigns. Over 45 percent of Xavier students receive some financial aid to attend the college preparatory school.

While much has changed in the world since Sister Joan has been at Xavier, her passion for students and faculty remains as strong as ever.

“What makes us different from other educational institutions is that the Church is the center of our life and hopefully the girls will go away with that and carry it out,” Sister Joan said.

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