History of Regis Catholic Schools
The Elements of Our Logo Signify
Cross - The universal symbol of Jesus
Crown - We are “of the King”…and our
Shield - The traditional background
Green - The school color of Regis Middle
Gold - The color of generosity and
Regis Catholic Schools - Regis means
History of Regis High School
Our present building was dedicated on November 15, 1953, but the history of Regis High School goes back considerably further. Until the mid-1940’s there were only two Catholic parishes in Eau Claire: Sacred Heart served the east side and St. Patrick’s served the west side. There was a considerable emphasis on ethnic origin at that time, with St. Patrick’s being largely Irish while Sacred Heart was predominantly German.
Catholic high school education in Eau Claire can trace its origins to the dedication and enthusiasm of many people. However, what eventually became Regis High School can be traced to a two-year high school added to St. Patrick’s grade school in 1914 by Father A.B.C. Dunne. A third year was added in 1919.
In 1927, Father Dunne’s successor at St. Patrick’s, Monsignor Casper Dowd, began the construction of a new high school building and gymnasium at St. Patrick’s. This building, which still serves St. Patrick’s parish along with the grade school building constructed in 1906, housed a four-year high school which graduated its first class in 1932.
As the demand for Catholic education grew over the years, St. Patrick’s High School was unable to accommodate all of the students who wished to enroll. By the early 1950s, three more parishes had been created in Eau Claire: St. James the Greater on the west side, Immaculate Conception on the southeast side, and St. Olaf on the northeast side. On September 24, 1951, the commitment was made to begin a drive for a new central Catholic high school which would meet the needs of all the parishes in the area.
At the same time, St. Patrick’s parish high school was made a central high school and the name was changed to Regis. Construction of the present building began on September 24, 1952, and the building was in use by the 1953-54, school year.
Enrollment peaked in the 1960s with more than 800 students. At that time almost 90% of the faculty was religious-nuns and priests. The Benedictine order of St. Bede’s Priory as well as many priests from the Diocese of La Crosse, served the school.
To raise additional money, a full-time development director was added in the mid- 1970’s and third-source income rose dramatically. A Regis foundation was established. Catholic students from outside Eau Claire enrolled at Regis as well as an increased number of non-Catholics.
Seven parishes have supplied the majority of students and most of the financial subsidy monies for Regis: St. Patrick, Sacred Heart, Immaculate Conception, St. James, St. Olaf, the Newman Community and St. Mary (Altoona). Although parishes continue to subsidize Regis, their portion of the cost of educating a student continues to decline while third source funding and tuition increase proportionately.
During the 1997-98 school year, Bishop Raymond Burke formerly of the La Crosse Diocese, announced the plan to create a unified system for Catholic education in the city of Eau Claire. This system, C.A.S.E. (Catholic Area Schools of the Eau Claire Deanery), has led to some major changes at the Regis campus. A Regis Middle School was integrated at the building, moving the seventh and eighth grades out of both I.C. and St. Pat’s.