Kristyn Hartman
Author Hemann Hesse said, “Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history.”
Here at Saint Ignatius College Prep, we value the people who have shaped our 155 years. That’s why we document events in many ways: Through the collection of artifacts, through the written word and, now, through oral histories.

Archivist Angela Perine has begun to record conversations with alumni to preserve important aspects of the Wolfpack’s past. She conducted her first oral history interviews at the end of 2023 with members of the 1965 Saint Ignatius Cross Country team, which was applying for Hall of Fame designation at the time.

“Our conversation was about much more than their winning ways,” said Perine, “It was about how they built lifelong relationships. Many of them are still in touch.”

In a phone interview from his location in Utah, which Perine recorded, Bill Stevens ‘65 talked about everything from coaching to training for the cross country team.

Stevens said, “Our practices were a mix of distance work and speed work – 200 yard sprints, 200 yards of easy jogging, followed by sprints again. No cross training. No calisthenics. No weight training. Just run, run, run!”

He also talked about balancing sports and studies – something our students today certainly understand.

“Managing class work wasn’t easy. I was in the top tier…I’m very competitive and took school work seriously,” recalled Stevens, “Not getting home ‘til 6:00 p.m and being the oldest of 12 – it was a full schedule. I had to hold my own in a very smart class. There was not much leisure time. I’d get home, eat what was left of dinner and have three hours of homework. I had no time for anything else,” he chuckled, “This was way before video games.” 

While much of the conversation revolved around sports and life in general at Saint Ignatius College Prep, it also painted a picture of the world in the 1960s. The result is an audible time capsule for anyone interested in the history of that period.

Perine reflected on the interviews she conducted with Stevens and his surviving teammates.

“It was a really impactful point in their lives,” she said, “One of the team members talked about having been afraid during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and how relying on the camaraderie of his teammates at a tough time was really helpful.”

Perine knows how important it is to take the time to record history for posterity. She also knows time is of the essence.

“People on the team have already passed away,” said Perine, “But for the people who we spoke with, we have their history recorded for future generations. Those generations will be able to hear their stories.”

The oral histories from the 1965 Cross Country team are in the Saint Ignatius College Prep digital archive. If you’d like to take a listen, please reach out to Angela Perine at angela.perine@ignatius.org.


Saint Ignatius College Prep

Saint Ignatius College Prep, a Jesuit Catholic school in the heart of Chicago, is a diverse community dedicated to educating young men and women for lives of faith, love, service and leadership.