School History

Marist School History

Marist School, formerly known as Marist College, was established in 1901 by the Society of Mary. The Marist Fathers, who operate the school, first came to Atlanta in 1897 at the request of Bishop Thomas Becker to staff the new Sacred Heart Parish. In September of 1898, Father John E. Gunn, S.M. became the pastor of the parish, and he soon realized the need for a school that would offer a Catholic education to the Atlanta young man. In 1901, Father Gunn purchased the Alexander lot adjacent to the parish church, and construction of the school began on June 7, 1901. Marist College opened on Monday, October 2, 1901 with an enrollment of 32 boys. The school’s preparatory program began in the sixth grade and included the traditional high school program. In addition, Marist College was incorporated in 1902 under the laws of the State of Georgia.
From 1901 to 1962, Marist College was located at the red brick school building on Ivy Street, near Peachtree Street, in downtown Atlanta, which is currently the site of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Due to the growth of the city, the school was forced to relocate, and land was purchased on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in 1957 from Harold B. Kirkpatrick. Construction of the new campus began in August of 1961 and was completed for the start of the 1962-1963 school year. At this time, the “new” Marist changed its name to Marist School.
The school functioned as a Catholic, military day school for boys until 1976. At that time, the school became co-educational, and the Air Force Jr. ROTC was discontinued due to insufficient enrollment. Today, Marist School continues to be a Catholic, private, nonprofit, college preparatory, coeducational day school for students in grades seven through twelve.

Marist College, Academic Catalogue, 1941-1942.
Marist School General Catalogue. 1974.


Fr. John E. Gunn, S.M., 1901-1911
Fr. George S. Rapier, S.M., 1911-1914
Fr. Peter McOscar, S.M., 1914-1920
Fr. James A. Horton, S.M., 1921-1923, 1925-1927
Fr. Michael A. Cotter, S.M., 1927-1933
Fr. Philip H. Dagneau, S.M., 1933-1936
Fr. James T. Reilly, S.M., 1936-1942
Fr. William Lonergan, S.M., S.T.B., 1942-1945
Fr. Edward P. McGrath, S.M., S.T.B, 1944-
Fr. Philip H. Dagneau, S.M., 1947-1953
Fr. Valentine A. Becker, S.M., 1953-1959 
Fr. Francis X. Kane, S.M., S.T.L., 1959-1960
Fr. Charles J. Willis, S.M., S.T.L, 1960-1962
Fr. Vincent P. Brennan, S.M., 1962-1968
Fr. Lawrence Schmuhl, S.M, 1968-1980                                                  
Fr. Thomas Gilroy, S.M., 1980-
Fr. Joel M. Konzen, S.M., 1988-1989
Fr. James L. Hartnett, S.M., 1989-2001
Fr. Richmond J. Egan, S.M., 2001-2008
Fr. John Harhager, S.M., 2008-2017
Fr. Bill Rowland, S.M., 2017-2023
J. D. Childs, 2023 - present (first lay President)
Above: Fr. John E. Gunn, S.M., first president of Marist College, 1901-1911


Fr. James A. Horton, S.M., 1914-1917, 1918-1920, 1924-1925
Fr. M. A. Cotter, S.M., 1917-1918
Fr. Louis A. Pelletier, S.M., 1920-1921
Fr. Mark W. McElkerney, S.M., 1921-1924
Fr. Daniel S. Rankin, S.M., 1925-1928
Fr. Philip H. Dagneau, S.M., M.S., 1928-1933, 1937-1953
Fr. William M. Hanlon, S.M., 1936-1937
Fr. Vincent P. Brennan, S.M., 1953-1964
Fr. Paul J. Barry, S.M., 1964-1965
Fr. Ralph G. Vedros, S.M., 1965-1971
Fr. James L. Hartnett, S.M., 1971-1982
Fr. Joel M. Konzen, S.M., 1982-1988 (title changed to Headmaster in 1984)
Brother Paul J. Leonarczyk, S.M., 1988-1992 (Headmaster)
Fr. James L. Hartnett, S.M. 1992-1993 (Interim Headmaster with assistance of Dr. Carmelita L. Monteith)
Mr. Michael Maher, 1993-1999 (first lay Headmaster)
Fr. Joel M. Konzen, S.M., 1999-2018
Mr. Kevin Mullally, 2018-present


The Marist School crest, worn on the blazer and displayed in many school publications, is composed of a shield with its motto and external ornaments. The place of honor on the shield, the left side, is devoted to the Blessed Virgin and the Society of Mary. The six-pointed star is a symbol of Mary which recalls her role in bridging the history of the Old Testament peoples and the New Covenant through the birth of Jesus. The AM monogram, borrowed from the crest of the Marist Fathers and Brothers, stands for Ave Maria (Hail, Mary). It was used by Father Colin prior to 1839. The AM monogram also appears on a gold coin issued in 1804 by the French government to commemorate the coronation of Napoleon in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the presence of Pope Pius VII.

The right side of the crest focuses on the school and the state of Georgia. Georgia’s state flower, the Cherokee rose, is surrounded by three books representing religion, the arts, and the sciences. The four stars stand for Georgia, the fourth of the original thirteen states; the wavy lines suggest the waters of the Atlantic. The motto, Sub Mariae Nomine, means "under the name of Mary" and signifies that Marist places itself under the protection and guidance of Mary, the Mother of God.

Source: Marist School Handbook, 2013-2014. 

Marist School

3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30319-1899
(770) 457-7201
An Independent Catholic School of the Marist Fathers and Brothers