Drexel and West Catholic Preparatory High School Open Athletics Field

West Catholic Prep cheerleaders at Maguire Field
West Catholic Prep cheerleaders at the opening celebration.

West Catholic Preparatory High School and Drexel University celebrated the official opening of an open-grass area located within Drexel’s Vidas Athletic Complex that was converted into a synthetic field for both institutions to use. A $1.5 million gift from the Maguire Foundation made the transformation possible.

“West Catholic Prep is an educational pillar in this neighborhood that Drexel cares deeply about,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “We’re proud to share this facility with their student-athletes, who learn the values of discipline, collaboration and teamwork while promoting pride and community at their school. And we’re incredibly grateful to Jim and Frannie Maguire for believing in and supporting Drexel’s mission of civic engagement.”

The Vidas Athletic Complex currently accommodates Drexel’s eight men’s and women’s varsity, 10 club sports as well as intramural play. The addition of a new synthetic field will give Drexel’s teams another weather-resistant area to practice, which will ease the scheduling burden at the complex and create new opportunities for the University’s student-athletes.

“This is a dream 24 years in the making,” said Brother Richard Kestler, FSC, president of West Catholic Prep. “Since 1989, West Catholic Prep has been looking for a site to serve as a practice field for its teams. Thanks to this partnership with Drexel and the Maguire Foundation, West Catholic Prep students will have a state-of-the-art facility and a site we are proud to call our home field.”

West Catholic Prep will use the field to practice football. Until now the team practiced at the Philadelphia Recreation Center Field at 48th St. and Woodland Ave. The close proximity of Drexel’s athletic complex—located at 43rd St. and Powelton Ave.—to West Catholic Prep will allow the school to save on transportation costs and reinvest the funds to support other areas in need.

“As a graduate of Saint Joseph's University I was exposed to the Jesuit philosophy that ‘we must be men and women for others,’ and today this is my core belief,” said James J. Maguire, president of the Maguire Foundation. “In partnership with 22 high schools and 20 universities, I believe our foundation can make a positive impact on the students we serve and on our community at large. The Drexel/West Catholic Prep partnership is a natural fit because of their location and the fact that Drexel is on the academic leading edge. The partnership will serve the West Catholic Prep students and benefit the West Philadelphia community.”

Maguire, and his wife, Frances, are founders of the Maguire Foundation, a philanthropic enterprise that primarily focuses its resources on education. Their focus is to assist children and young adults with an opportunity to benefit from a quality education. The Foundation partners with institutions and families of need and provides tuition, scholarship assistance and grants for education through grade school, high school and college. For more information about the foundation, visit: www.maguirefoundation.org.