Jesuit High School Tampa
Forming young men in the Tampa Bay area since 1899
Men For Others

For Greater Glory

The Campaign for Jesuit

Jesuit High School president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. made an historic presentation on Sept. 19, 2015, announcing the public phase of the school’s extraordinary $35 million “For Greater Glory” campaign to preserve and strengthen Jesuit in Tampa for generations.

Three years later when the landmark campaign came to a close, it had vastly exceeded all expectations. The campaign goal was raised to $40 million in 2016, and at the President's Circle Dinner at the start of the 2018-19 school year, Fr. Hermes announced the campaign had raised $50 million.

The campaign 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.

“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 initial presentation at the 2015 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 was established to secure the legacy of Jesuit in Tampa for another 60 years and beyond.

In June 2016, Jesuit celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for Phase I of the Campus Master Plan supported by the For Greater Glory campaign. In the spring of 2018, the spectacular new 32,00-square foot Administration and Student Services Center was completed. The face of Jesuit on Himes Ave., it is now known as Gonzmart Hall, in honor of the leadership and generosity of Richard Gonzmart '71. The Blessing & Dedication ceremony for Gonzmart Hall took place March 2, 2018, and the facility opened a short time later.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross - the heart of school at the center of campus - was completed in the summer of 2018 and celebrated its Rite of Dedication with Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J. of Oakland, Calif. on Aug. 8, 2018.

Also completed in 2018 was the stately Oliva Courtyard - named in honor of John Oliva '60 - which beautifully connects Gonzmart Hall to Holy Cross Chapel. (For more on the Campus Master Plan, tab down.)

Also announced at the President's Dinner in 2015 was then-largest gift in the history of the school. Marty and Ted Couch ’54 made a momentous $2.5 million donation to Jesuit, the school’s first of more than $2 million. Later, Marty and Ted Couch demonstrated the magis – a Latin word meaning "more" or "better," and a key concept of Ignatian spirituality – and increased the gift amount to $3.15 million. (Likewise, Gonzmart, who had initiated the campaign's silent launch in 2014 with the first-ever alumni gift of $1 million, later increased his gift to $2.5 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.”

Other major campaign benefactors include the Capitano family - Joe Capitano Sr. '56, Joe Capitano Jr. '84, and Frank Capitano '87 - who donated $3 million, and Richard "Steve" Jenkins '75, who donated $2.5 million. 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. For both the 2016-17 school year and 2017-18 school year, for example, more than 1/4th of Jesuit’s students received $1.95 million in financial aid each year. For 2018-19, 30% of the student body will receive $2 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 Campus 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.

Aerial rendering of Jesuit High School's Campus Master Plan

The reshaping began in 2014 with the construction of the striking new campus perimeter, which provides a beautiful, collegiate presence along Himes Ave., and continued with the beginning of Phase I in 2016.

Phase I includes a new chapel, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, at the heart of campus, where St. Anthony’s Chapel had been for nearly 60 years, where the entire Jesuit student body gathers each morning for Convocation, and where all-school Mass and other vital spiritual events are held. The new Chapel will enhance the school’s Catholic, Jesuit identity, and allow for future growth in enrollment. Please view this video from Feb. 2016 about the new Chapel and about Phase I breaking ground in the summer of 2016. Click here for the video about the June 2016 groundbreaking ceremony.

Also part of Phase I is a new Administration and Student Services building (later named Gonzmart Hall). 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 II will begin. It may include a comprehensive new two-story, collegiate-style Student Activities Center, with an adjacent 500-seat Dining Hall among its many amenities; 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, complete with independent labs equipped with the latest technology, to further Jesuit's academic excellence in the increasingly advanced STEM subjects.

Numerous other campus enhancements may occur during Phases I and II, 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, and the architect for the new Chapel is Duncan G. Stroik. The construction managers are Batson-Cook.

Fr. Hermes also acknowledged at the 2015 President's Dinner announcement 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. In 2016, The Capitano Family announced a transformative gift of $3 million toward the campaign.

“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 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, please contact Nick Suszynski ’98 in the Development Office at (813) 877-5344 ext. 704.

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