Born in Chicago, Rev. John P. Smyth is a 1952 graduate of DePaul Academy and a 1957 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He captained the Notre Dame basketball team his senior year; was selected an All-American; and was a first-round draft choice of the then young NBA’s St. Louis Hawks. He elected to forgo a professional basketball career and entered the seminary instead.

1962 to 2004
Fr. Smyth was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in April 1962. His first and only assignment as a priest was Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Fr. Smyth was named Executive Director of Maryville in 1970. At the time, Maryville was an enormous drain on the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the physical plant was well beyond repair. By utilizing his networking skills, he eked out a financial existence for Maryville without help from the Archdiocese.

During his administration, Maryville expanded to various sites that specialized in caring for neglected, abused, and abandoned youth comprised of cocaine-addicted newborns to the medically complex child; from teenage girls at odds with the law to youth with both mental illness and substance abuse problems; from the victims of child pornography, teenage prostitution, and sexual abuse to the damaged child who is the result of family violence.

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