Story of its birth

In 1958 Fr. Frank Loesch, S.J., an engineer, planner and builder of many institutions and Fr. Charles Saldhana, S. J. a great educationist were appointed by the Provincial of the Patna Mission (then a part of the American Mission of the society of Jesus) to establish St Xavier’s school at 4, Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi-54. The Provincial knew that Fr. Loesch was eminently qualified to perform this Herculean task, as he had vast architectural competence and lot of administrative expertise. (In Patna he was popularly known as ‘the contractor’ because he was greatly involved in building activity!!) Rich in such experience it was no wonder that St. Xavier’s deserved such a man to build those impressive edifices. Fr. Charles Saldhana too was a man with a wealth of experience and expertise. He had already served for two years as the Principal of Nirmala College (the present Kirori Mal College), Delhi University. He was scholarly and erudite and had a friendly persuasion and a warm human touch as the hallmarks of his personality.

In 1958 they purchased the eminent Hotel Cecil owned by an American duo of brother and sister Mr. Hotz and Ms. White. (Hotel Cecil in those days was known as the ‘Country Club’. It was a posh hotel with over a hundred rooms offering all the accompanying five star amenities including lush green lawns and a swimming pool) Later they bought a substantial portion of the land adjacent to the present Gujrati Samaj.

After the property was purchased the premises remained untouched for some time. There were hosts of beautiful flowers all over. The lawns were well manicured and the neem trees looked absolutely majestic. There were numerous shady trees and a variety of flowers in the campus. The planners knew that it could not remain in the same condition; instead it had to be converted into a school campus. In May 1959 Fr. Loesch with Fr. Richard Pereira, S.J. visited Mr. Nayak, who was the then commissioner of Delhi for getting permission to change the Cecil Hotel into a school.

And then the constructive destruction followed………. Gardens and trees, grounds and space, the buildings and dwellings were all chiseled or remodelled to cater to the requirements of the new school. The premises underwent innumerable of changes, which gave the shape of a new St. Xavier’s, a place where the destiny of many Indians were to be decided in the years to come. (Mrs. White, the erstwhile owner of the Cecil Hotel, returned to the campus after a gap of a few years and was flabbergasted to see that all her rose plants and dahlia flowers had vanished from the campus. When she expressed her dismay to the then Principal Fr. Thomas Athazhapadam, he, pointing to the smart little kids playing around asked her: "Mrs. White, aren’t these cute little ones far more beautiful and promising than your roses and dahlias?")