Jesuit High School president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. made a historic presentation this evening (Sept. 19), announcing the public phase of the school’s extraordinary $35 million “For Greater Glory” campaign to preserve and strengthen Jesuit in Tampa for generations.
The landmark campaign, for which an amazing $27.5 million already has been raised, ensures the school will continue forming young men in the Tampa Bay area in the 470-year tradition of Jesuit education - and will dramatically transform the campus.
For information about the campaign, naming opportunities, and renderings of all major planned campus developments, please go to www.jesuittampa.org/Campaign.
“This campaign represents our tremendous commitment to Jesuit in Tampa, and is possible through the remarkable generosity of our alumni and parents,’’ Fr. Hermes said. “Now future generations of young men in Tampa can achieve their academic, personal, and spiritual development at Jesuit.”
Fr. Hermes made his presentation at the President's Circle Dinner gala, before more than 400 of the school’s top supporters at the Renaissance Hotel in Tampa. Nearly 60 years after moving from downtown, where the school was founded in 1899, to Himes Ave., the campaign will secure the legacy of Jesuit in Tampa for another 60 years and beyond.
Also announced at the event was the largest gift in the history of the school. Marty and Ted Couch ’54 have made a momentous $2.5 million donation to Jesuit, the school’s first of more than $2 million.
“Like so many others who have passed through the hallways of Jesuit High School, I feel a deep sense of gratitude,” said Couch, a longtime Jesuit benefactor and 2009 Alumnus of the Year, who graduated two years before the school relocated to Himes Ave in 1956. “Jesuit played a critical role in shaping the way I live. It is my desire to see that continue, and to grow and improve, for the betterment of our community, such that Jesuit can make that same positive imprint for generations to come.”
The campaign supports the school’s Strategic Plan, which was developed in 2011. For Greater Glory represents a renewal of school life by investing fully in Jesuit’s people, programs, and facilities – starting with a robust, sustainable financial aid program.
Jesuit has been committed to educating any qualified boy who desires to attend since its beginnings. This school year, for example, more than 1/4th of Jesuit’s students are receiving a total of $1.8 million in financial aid.
“We have an historic commitment to provide a Jesuit education and formation to as many boys in the Tampa Bay area as possible, regardless of the financial means of their family,” Fr. Hermes said. “This requires, of course, a commitment to a financial aid program that is sustainable long-term. This campaign makes that possible.”
The campaign also focuses on school personnel, and on the expansion and development of student programs. Jesuit is committing the resources to attract, develop, and retain the finest faculty and staff, while also furthering the school’s mandate to provide programs and opportunities to assist students in their total formation – academically, in their life of faith, in the development of their gifts and talents, and in their growth as leaders, as “Men for Others” who make a difference in their communities, and especially in their service of those who are most in need.
Finally, the campaign will transform the campus, as it supports Jesuit’s master plan and calls for major development the next few years. Though significant work has been done on a regular basis to upgrade campus facilities over the past half-century, in many regards Jesuit remains much the same as it was originally built in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The reshaping began in 2014 with the construction of the striking new campus perimeter, which provides a beautiful, collegiate presence along Himes Ave., and now it will continue with Phase 1 in 2016.
Phase 1 includes a full-scale renovation to the heart of campus, St. Anthony’s Chapel, where the entire Jesuit student body (currently about 770 students) gathers each morning for Convocation, and where all-school Mass and other vital spiritual events are held. The Chapel renovation will enhance the school’s Catholic, Jesuit identity, and allow for future growth in enrollment.
Also part of Phase 1 is a new Administration and Student Services building. A grand, two-story, 32,000-square foot structure, it will be the face of Jesuit along Himes Ave, a dynamic and enduring presence. It will be home to numerous school departments, notably counseling and college admissions.
When the Chapel and Administration building are complete, Phase 2 will begin. It will start with a comprehensive new two-story, collegiate-style Student Activities Center, with an adjacent 500-seat Dining Hall among its many amenities. Future development also includes a spectacular new Fine and Performing Arts Center with a 450-seat theater/auditorium, and a new two-story, state-of-the-art Science and Math building, featuring independent labs equipped with the latest technology, to further Jesuit's academic excellence in the increasingly advanced STEM subjects.
Numerous other campus enhancements are planned, such as bricked colonnades on several buildings, a renovated football press box, and a grotto at the iconic Jesuit Bell Tower. The architects for the campus master plan are Cooper Johnson Smith.
Fr. Hermes also acknowledged the many generous contributors who have helped the campaign come so far. In 2013, Richard Gonzmart ’71 made the first $1 million donation to the school from an alumnus. Many other alumni and parents have since made gifts of such generosity, including John Oliva ’60, John Hamilton ’77, Ray Hyer, P ’01, and several anonymous donors.
“The generosity of our alumni and parents has been extraordinary,” Hermes said. “It serves as a testament to the confidence that our key stakeholders have in investing in the total development of our students at Jesuit.”
The President's Dinner was arranged by Jesuit's award-winning events coordinator Jane Younger and featured Jesuit students. The emcee was Ryan Cox '17, and student artists, musicians, and the award-winning competitive Robotics team all displayed their talents during the course of the evening.
Jesuit’s Director of Development, Nick Suszynski ’98, and Board Chairman Joe Caballero '86 also spoke at the event. It was four years ago that the Board approved Jesuit High School's Strategic Plan, which outlined four key priorities for the school's advancement:
- Catholic, Jesuit identity
- Academic Excellence
- Student Life and Leadership
- Enrollment at the Service of the Mission
Fr. Hermes indicated the Strategic Plan has served as the blueprint for much growth the past few years, and that it set the foundation to establish the For Greater Glory campaign.
For more information, and renderings of all major planned campus developments, please go to www.jesuittampa.org/Campaign. Click to view renderings of the entire campus, Administration and Student Services, Student Activities Center, Fine and Performing Arts Center, Science and Math, and St. Anthony's Chapel.
Please see below a wonderful photo slideshow from the President's Dinner:
The name of the campaign, For Greater Glory, comes from the Jesuit motto A.M.D.G., the acronym for the Latin phrase Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, meaning For the Greater Glory of God.
The campaign logo design is inspired by a portion of the design on Jesuit High School’s iconic Bell Tower, as well as from a campus statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits.
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