This is a powerful moment in our school’s history as we embark on this historic campaign, A Cherished Past, A Vibrant Future. With this campaign, each one of us has a rare opportunity to be a part of Visitation’s future. It’s been almost two decades since we embarked on a campaign of such importance and such comprehensive depth.
Our campaign includes three strategic initiatives, all of equal import: Preserving Our Charism, Building Our Endowment, and Enhancing Our Campus. Together, our efforts in each of these areas will keep our vibrant school thriving for years to come.
Salesian Spirituality has always been the foundation for all that we do here. For generations, our students have been steeped in this remarkable charism, learning it from the Visitation Sisters who have lived the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal and who have modeled these values every day. To safeguard this singular spiritual character, we are raising $3 million to establish the St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center. The center isn’t a building but rather a catalog of programming that will teach and nourish Salesian Spirituality—in our students, in our teachers and staff, among our entire community.
We have already hired an archivist to organize and digitize our 216-year history, and have launched many on-campus programs to explore our Salesian roots, support faith-formation, and spark thoughtful discussions about these vital virtues. We plan to have a Salesian Center Director in place before the start of the 2016-2017 school year and will continue expanding our roster of Salesian programming in coming months and years. A formal Salesian Center is an exciting and unique prospect, preserving this centuries-old way of life and intricately weaving it into our own lives today.
In keeping with the school’s mission, we aim to maintain socioeconomic diversity among our student body, and this means slowing the rate of tuition increases and augmenting our financial aid funds. Raising an additional $8 million for our endowment will help us do just this. It will also support competitive salaries and benefits for our faculty and staff—critical in attracting and retaining the top-notch teachers and support staff who empower our students to achieve and grow.
The installation of a turf surface on McNabb Turf Field in 2014 represented the start of this $11-million campaign component. We were able to give our Lewis Cup-winning athletes a field fit for their immeasurable talents. Then, last summer we directed our attention to the dining room, a small space that had remained remarkably untouched since 1910. The renovated dining room, named in honor of Helen McKenna Sheehy JC ’49 (officially opening in late Fall) is beautiful, open, bright, and vastly more functional. It will serve our students and community not only as a place to eat, but also a comfortable and inviting place to study and gather.
The final component of our campus building initiative is a new wing to St. Joe’s called Berchmans Hall. The project will feature a spacious and light-filled art studio, a new state-of-the art science lab, and new classrooms. With this new addition, we can better prepare our students for tomorrow’s world and workforce and encourage more collaboration, interdisciplinary studies, and creative problem-solving. We will also renovate some existing St. Joe’s classrooms.
This Capital Campaign will ensure that every Visitation student continues to have the tools she needs to discover, learn, and thrive. We hope that you will join us on this exciting journey as we cherish the past and also look toward the vibrant future.
Daniel M. Kerns, Jr.
Head of School
Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan ’48 & ’50
Ann Sheehy Fowler ’86 and Brand Fowler