Regis Jesuit High School traces its origins to Las Vegas College and was founded in 1877 in Las Vegas, New Mexico by Jesuits from Naples, Italy. In 1884, the Jesuits opened a second school in Morrison, Colorado. Four years later, the Las Vegas and Morrison schools were merged in the College of the Sacred Heart—which later became Regis College and then Regis University—and moved to West 52nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in northwest Denver.
In 1921, the high school and college were formally separated into two distinct entities. In 1979, they became separate corporations. With the completion of a new high school building on the college campus in 1984, Regis Jesuit High School moved out of the Regis University facilities, but soon outgrew that building as well. On September 16, 1989, the cornerstone was laid for the new campus in Aurora, Colorado. Classes began on the Campbell Campus the following September.
In January 1997, Regis Jesuit purchased an additional 35 acres adjacent to the Campbell Campus in hopes of expanding the campus at some point. In 2001, the Board of Trustees, with the support of the Archdiocese of Denver, voted to open a second division of the school. The addition would offer the same high quality, single-gender educational experience to young women as the school had offered young men since its inception. On April 11, 2003, ground was broken for a new facility for the Boys Division, and plans were made to renovate the existing school building for the arrival of the Girls Division in 2004.
In the fall of 2003, the Girls Division opened at St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church with 170 freshmen and sophomores. For the 2004-05 school year, the Girls Division moved into their refurbished building on the Campbell Campus, while the Boys Division started classes in their new building on the same campus. With the addition of the Girls Division, Regis Jesuit became only the second Jesuit school in the world to offer an all-girls education (the other is in the Philippines) and is the only co-divisional Jesuit school in the country.
In February 2014, the Steele Center, containing facilities for the performing arts, communications, college counseling as well as a student commons area, opened between the two Divisions. It was originally called the Performing Arts Center & Student Commons but was renamed in June 2015 in honor of Rev. Philip G. Steele, SJ ’66, who served as the school’s President from 2006-15. With facilities intended for use by all students, it is both the physical and spiritual heart of the school. A statue of the school’s patron, St. John Francis Regis, by Bolivian-born artist, Pablo Eduardo, was installed in front of the Steele Center in October 2016, further enlivening this shared space.
One of the school’s strategic objectives, securing the last piece of open property adjacent to the campus, was accomplished in April 2017 when an additional 18 acres of land was purchased from the long-time owner. How this additional land, which brings the campus size to 82 acres, will be used will be determined through a master planning process currently underway.
During the 2017-18 school year, the school celebrated 140 years since its founding by noting the tremendous journey of the institution thus far and looking toward the future with great hope.