Our History

Austin Preparatory School was founded by the Augustinian Fathers of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova in 1961 and opened to students in September 1963. Austin is, in fact, an abbreviated version of Augustine, so our name does carry on the legacy and acknowledges our debt to St. Augustine and his followers, the Augustinians. St. Augustine is the School’s patron saint, and we strive toward the Augustinian ideal of: “One mind, one heart, intent on God.” 


At the invitation of Cardinal Richard Cushing and the Archdiocese of Boston, Austin Preparatory School was established by the Order of Saint Augustine, Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. The Augustinians welcome 176 freshman and 24 sophomore boys in the school’s inaugural year, graduating its first class of 18 students in 1966. We continue to live out this heritage as a school “in the Augustinian tradition” today. 


Facing declining numbers in vocations, the Augustinians plan to close several of their schools, including Austin Prep. Amidst growing concerns, a group of dedicated parents, students and faculty stage protests, orchestrate petitions and appeals, and broker a deal with the Order to save the school. The Augustinians, hoping to keep the school alive, agree to a buyout and the school is transferred to a new lay Board of Trustees. Austin becomes a fully incorporated Catholic independent school.


To help insure enrollment numbers remain sustainable for future admission cycles, the Board approves the addition of a Middle School. Still an all-boys school, Austin now serves young men in grades 6 through 12. 


Amid concerns of declining enrollments, Catholic and independent schools across the country look for new ways to bolster their numbers. Austin makes the decision to open its doors to young women. Austin’s first alumna graduates in 1993. Today the school’s enrollment is split evenly between boys and girls. Once again, on the cutting edge of educational advances, Austin reorganizes class schedules into 90-minute academic periods. The school also kicks off its first capital campaign to build the MultiPurpose Facility. 


The campus undergoes its first major construction project since 1961. The long-awaited MultiPurpose Facility is complete. The school also renovates the science laboratories and classrooms to incorporate state-of-the-art technology and equipment. A second capital campaign gets underway to renovate the unused Monastery Wing into arts classrooms, music classrooms, an art gallery, dance studios, a technology lab, and an expansion of the Fr. Smith Library & Media Center.


Austin Prep celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2011. After serving as headmaster for 25 years, Paul J. Moran retires. The Board conducts a national search and appoints James Hickey, Ph.D., from The Pennington School in New Jersey, as Austin’s 10th headmaster in 2013. The school takes on a major capital campaign and gives a "face lift" to its beloved Fr. Seymour Field. The new synthetic turf stadium includes lights, a new sound system with a state-of-the-art scoreboard, an amenities building housing a concession stand and restroom facilities, and stadium seating for 1,100. The new track is also state-of-the-art and includes space for the shot put and javelin. The football team hosts its first Friday night game ever on Fr. Seymour Field on November 25, 2015, to a sold-out crowd of 1,500 alumni, families and friends.

Our Augustinian Heritage

Austin Prep is a proud member of the Augustinian Secondary Educational Association (ASEA). We share our Augustinian heritage with more than 100 secondary schools and colleges across the globe.  

Mission Statement

The Augustinian Secondary Education Association was established by the North American Conference of Augustinian Provincials to foster unity, efficiency, and continued development within the Augustinian ministry of secondary education. The Association is a forum and vehicle for the sharing of resources, for the advancement of the Augustinian charism and values, for the promotion of secondary education as a vital and proper ministry of the Order, and for assuring authentic Augustinian identity in the schools.

Augustinian Schools in North America

In addition to these schools, there are many elementary schools throughout North America which are part of the ministry of parishes where Augustinians serve. In various ways they often reflect the Augustinian values and vision of education.  

Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, PA (1842)

Malvern Prep is the direct continuation of the academy program founded in 1842 by the Augustinians as the " preparatory school" for what is now Villanova University. In 1922 the academy program moved from Villanova to 143 acres of land in historic Chester County and became Malvern Prep. Originally a day and boarding school for boys, Malvern Preparatory School is now a day school for some 600 young men .

St. Rita of Cascia High School, Chicago, IL (1905)


Always a high school for boys since its foundation in 1905, in 1990 the school moved from its first historic campus at 63rd and Claremont in South Chicago to the former Quigley Prep campus at 77th and Western. The “new” campus has a church-sized chapel, swimming pool, gym, ball fie lds, and excellent teaching facilities which presently serve 900 young men. The school was named by “US News & World Report” as one of the top 25 high schools in the United States.

Providence Catholic High School, New Lenox, IL (1918)

Originally established in Joliet, Illinois in 1918, Providence took on a new campus in New Lenox in 1962. The Augustinians direct the 1,150-student coed institution. Unique to Augustinian schools in the United States, Providence offers a large and excellent early education program for the community. In addition to excellence in studies, Providence has earned 24 state champion ships in sports.

St. Augustine High School, San Diego, CA (1922)

Located on a little over 7 acres of land in urban San Diego (not far from Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo), Saints is a school for 700 young men from the San Diego-Tijuana region. More than 90% are Catholic. Known as “Saintsmen,” alumni have made significant contributions to the civic and Church communities. A recent building effort has provided all new classroom, library, and student services, and library facilities.

Villanova Preparatory School, Ojai, CA (1924)

Villanova Prep is located on 117 acres of land in the beautiful Ojai Valley, 80 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. Founded as a boarding and day school for boys, the school became coeducational in 1971 . With 315 students, it provides boarding facilities for about one-third of the students who are from 10 different countries.

Cascia Hall, Tulsa, OK (1926)

Founded in 1926 as a school for boys in grades 7 through 12, with boarding as well as day students, Cascia Hall became coeducational in 1986. Its present enrollment is 575 students in grades 6 through 12. The beautiful and well equipped campus has a unique French Norman architectural style, and is located in a residential area of midtown Tulsa.

St. Augustine College Preparatory School, Richland, NJ (1959)

The Prep has grown from its first graduating class of 12 students (1963) to a current enrollment of over 550 young men. It is recognized as the premier college prep school for boys in Southern New Jersey, and recently completed a major building program to provide greater opportunities in the arts and sports.

Austin Preparatory School - Reading, MA (1961)

Austin Preparatory School was founded by the Augustinian Fathers of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova in 1961 and opened to students in September 1963. In the 1970s the school ownership transferred to a lay Board of Trustees and it continues to operate "in the Augustinian tradition." The school has evolved from an all-boys school to serve a population of 740 young men and women in grades 6-12. It is located in Reading, MA, 15 miles north of Boston.

Villanova College, King City, Ontario (1999)

Villanova College was founded by lay educators in 1999 and established its campus on 33 acres of land of the Augustinian Marylake Monastery property in 2000. The school embraces Augustinian values and vision. With the completion of its facilities, Villanova College will be able to serve 800 young men and women.

Austin Catholic High School, Ray, MI (2011)

Austin Catholic High School is a co-ed comprehensive college preparatory school serving young men and women of diverse backgrounds in northern Macomb County. Opened in 2011, Austin aims to cultivate healthy and resourceful students for college and beyond with a rigorous liberal arts program committed to the Augustinian values of Truth, Unity, and Love. Austin offers full academic and extracurricular programming, with highly qualified instructors and dedicated staff in a vibrant faith community. Austin Catholic: New Opportunities ... Long-Standing Tradition.

Villanova University, Villanova, PA (1842)

Founded in 1842, Villanova University is the oldest and largest Catholic university in Pennsylvania. Located on 254 acres on the Main Line near Philadelphia it has 6,335 undergraduate students from 49 states and 24 foreign countries. With colleges in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Nursing, as well as a School of Law, for more than a decade Villanova has been ranked annually No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report in the Best Universities - Master's category in the northern region. Villanova has 80,000-plus living alumni.

Merrimack College, North Andover, MA (1947)

Merrimack College was founded by the Augustinians in 1947. It is presently a coed school serving close to 3,000 students from 26 states and 17 countries. Eighty percent of the fulltime students live on the 220 acre campus.The college offers degrees in the liberal arts, business, the sciences, and engineering.     


The flaming heart is the human heart. It symbolizes Augustine’s love of God and his fellow brothers and sisters. The Augustinian heart is passionately alive with the desire to know God and experience divine love in our lives. 

The open book represents St. Augustine’s own conversion to Christianity and the Scriptures. It also symbolizes the Word of God, source of light and truth, and the quest for wisdom. 

The arrow which pierces the heart represents the Spirit of God piercing our hearts, calling us to continued growth in faith, hope, and love. This is the basis of that great restlessness, so typical of St. Augustine, which led him to seek God in all things and above all things. 

This insignia is also a visual symbol of Augustinian teaching practice. “Teaching to think and to love,” or put another way, “learning to be and to share,” is seen as a masterly synthesis of Augustinian education. The book and the heart are combined in a single logo. Loving rationally and thinking as persons who are facing up to reality with their intelligence and their hearts. The noble capacity of thought is combined with the human exercise of conscious love. It is a call to “intelligent love.” (Santiago Inzunza, OSA)

If you are interested in learning more about the Order of St. Augustine and what it means to be an Augustinian, please visit this website:

101 Willow Street  •  Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944 - 4900  •  Fax: (781) 944 - 7530

Austin Preparatory School is a Catholic private school in Reading, MA for Middle School and High School students in grades 6-12. We seek to cultivate the hearts and minds of our young students and provide an environment in which our students can successfully learn, grow, and develop beyond the classroom.

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