In October 1883, Joseph Zealand, S.J., (1831-1904) replaced Fr. Thomas Miles as president and rector, offices he held until July 1884. Curriculum changes during his short time as president placed less emphasis on classical education, especially Greek. A “Scientific Department” was opened with a gift from John A. Creighton, who outfitted the school with laboratories. Chemistry, physics, astronomy and meteorology soon entered the college curriculum.
Fr. Zealand was born in Geldrop, Netherlands, as Joseph Zeeland. He came to the United States in 1853 with Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J. Fr. Zealand joined the Jesuits at Florissant, Mo., then taught classics at St. Joseph’s College (Bardstown, Ky.), and in Milwaukee. He continued his theological studies at St. Louis University and Boston College. Fr. Zealand taught briefly at St. Xavier College (Cincinnati, Ohio; now Xavier University). He was prefect of studies and superintendent of classes at St. Louis University before becoming its president in 1871. From 1879 to 1882, he oversaw the Jesuit church in St. Charles, Mo., and was later treasurer at St. Mary’s College (St. Mary’s, Kan.). Fr. Zealand became president of St. Ignatius College (now University of Loyola Chicago) in 1884 following his short term as Creighton’s president. He died in 1904.