What Does A.M.D.G. Mean?
AMDG, the motto of the Society of Jesus, is a Latin acronym for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory of God). You will find it written above student essays, on football helmets and on every page of this website. Why? Because SI teaches that if we are true to our best selves, if we (as the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins writes) "act in God's eye what in God's eye" we are, then we shine. Those who see us at our best see God's glory. That's the way we glorify God – by being true to who we are, by being loving and generous and by living out the words of the Prayer of St. Ignatius:
Lord, teach me to be generous,
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
save that of knowing I do your will, O Lord.
Magis is a Latin word meanting "greater" and Jesuits use it to mean choosing the greater good in all we do. Some also use the word as an invitation never to be complacent, never to be satisfied and always to strive for excellence. That spirit of competition, with oneself and with others, has been as much a guiding force for SI since its inception as the Phoenix has been a symbol for San Francisco.
Graduates live out their commitment to excellence in diverse ways:
- Ron Ward ’65 was the first African American president of the Washington State Bar Association and is a leading mentor to young African American attorneys.
- Timothy Alan Simon ’73, the co-founder of SI’s Black Students Union, served as a commissioner to the California Public Utilities Commission and was the first African American appointments secretary to the governor of California.
- Two of the most successful New York theatre directors include Bart Sher ’77, resident director of the Lincoln Center Theatre and recipient of a Tony for directing South Pacific; and James Houghton ’76, founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre Company, head of Juilliard's drama school, and a Tony recipient as well.
- Gretchen E. Henderson ’93, celebrated author and poet, is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT where she works at the intersection of literature, art history, museum studies, disability studies, and music.
"We want graduates who desire to eliminate hunger and conflict in the world and who are sensitive to the need for more equitable distribution of the world’s goods."
Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.